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[618a] And after this again the prophet placed the patterns of lives before them on the ground, far more numerous than the assembly. They were of every variety, for there were lives of all kinds of animals and all sorts of human lives, for there were tyrannies among them, some uninterrupted till the end1 and others destroyed midway and issuing in penuries and exiles and beggaries; and there were lives of men of repute for their forms and beauty and bodily strength otherwise [618b] and prowess and the high birth and the virtues of their ancestors, and others of ill repute in the same things, and similarly of women. But there was no determination of the quality of soul, because the choice of a different life inevitably2 determined a different character. But all other things were commingled with one another and with wealth and poverty and sickness and health and the intermediate3 conditions. —And there, dear Glaucon, it appears, is the supreme hazard4 for a man. [618c] And this is the chief reason why it should be our main concern that each of us, neglecting all other studies, should seek after and study this thing5—if in any way he may be able to learn of and discover the man who will give him the ability and the knowledge to distinguish the life that is good from that which is bad, and always and everywhere to choose the best that the conditions allow, and, taking into account all the things of which we have spoken and estimating the effect on the goodness of his life of their conjunction or their severance, to know how beauty commingled with poverty or wealth and combined with [618d] what habit of soul operates for good or for evil, and what are the effects of high and low birth and private station and office and strength and weakness and quickness of apprehension and dullness and all similar natural and acquired habits of the soul, when blended and combined with one another,6 so that with consideration of all these things he will be able to make a reasoned choice between the better and the worse life, [618e] with his eyes fixed on the nature of his soul, naming the worse life that which will tend to make it more unjust and the better that which will make it more just. But all other considerations he will dismiss, for we have seen that this is the best choice,

1 For διατελεῖς Cf. Laws 661 Dτυραννίδα διὰ τέλους.

2 For the idiom ἀναγκαίως ἔχειν Cf. Phaedo 91 E, Laws 771 E, 928 E, Lysias vi. 35.

3 μεσοῦνPhaedr. 241 D.

4 Cf. Phaedo 107 C, 114 D, Gorg. 526 E, Eurip.Medea 235ἀγὼν μέγιστος, Thucyd. i. 32. 5μέγας κίνδυνος, Aristoph.Clouds 955νῦν γὰρ ἅπας . . . κίνδυνος ἀνεῖται, Frogs 882ἀγὼν . . . μέγας, Antiphon v. 43ἐν μοι πᾶς κίνδυνος ἦν. For the expression Cf. Gorg. 470 Eἐν τούτῳ πᾶσα εὐδαιμονία ἐστιν.

5 Cf. 443-444, 591 E-592 A, Gorg. 527 B f., Laws 662 B f., 904 A ff.

6 The singular verb is used after plural subjects, because the subjects are united in the writer's mind into one general idea. Cf. Rep. 363 A, Laws 925 E, Symp. 188 B.

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