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“Concerning the gods then,” said I, “this is the sort of thing that we must allow or not allow them to hear from childhood up, if they are to honor the gods1 and their fathers and mothers, and not to hold their friendship with one another in light esteem.” “That was our view and I believe it right.” “What then of this? If they are to be brave, must we not extend our prescription to include also the sayings that will make them least likely [386b] to fear death? Or do you suppose that anyone could ever become brave who had that dread in his heart?” “No indeed, I do not,” he replied. “And again if he believes in the reality of the underworld and its terrors,2 do you think that any man will be fearless of death and in battle will prefer death to defeat and slavery?” “By no means.” “Then it seems we must exercise supervision3 also, in the matter of such tales as these, over those who undertake to supply them and request them not to dispraise in this undiscriminating fashion the life in Hades but rather praise it, [386c] since what they now tell us is neither true nor edifying to men who are destined to be warriors.” “Yes, we must,” he said. “Then,” said I, “beginning with this verse we will expunge everything of the same kind:“ Liefer were I in the fields up above to be serf to another
Tiller of some poor plot which yields him a scanty subsistence,
Than to be ruler and king over all the dead who have perished,
”Aesch. Frag. 3504 and this: [386d] “ Lest unto men and immortals the homes of the dead be uncovered
Horrible, noisome, dank, that the gods too hold in abhorrence,
”Hom. Il. 20.645 and:“ Ah me! so it is true that e'en in the dwellings of Hades
Spirit there is and wraith, but within there is no understanding,
”Hom. Il. 10.4956 and this: “ Sole to have wisdom and wit, but the others are shadowy phantoms,
”Hom. Il. 23.1037 and:“ Forth from his limbs unwilling his spirit flitted to Hades,
Wailing its doom and its lustihood lost and the May of its manhood,
”Hom. Il. 16.8568
1 We may, if we choose, see here a reference to the virtue of piety, which some critics fancifully suppose was eliminated by the Euthyphro. Cf. Unity of Plato's Thought, note 58.
2 For the idea that death is no evil Cf. Apology, in fine, Laws 727 D, 828 D, and 881 A, where, however, the fear of hell is approved as a deterrent.
3 Cf. 377 B.
6 The exclamation and inference (ῥά) of Achilles when the shade of Patroclus eludes his embrace in the dream. The text is endlessly quoted by writers on religious origins and dream and ghost theories of the origin of the belief in the soul.
8 Said of the death of Patroclus, and Hector, Hom. Il. 22.382; imitated in the last line of the Aeneid“Vitaque cum gemitu fugit indignata sub umbras.” Cf. Bacchyl. v. 153-4:πύματον δὲ πνέων δάκρυσα τλάμων ἀγλαὰν ἥβαν προλείπων.
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