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[501a] he said, “if they perceive that. But tell me, what is the manner of that sketch you have in mind?” “They will take the city and the characters of men, as they might a tablet, and first wipe it clean—1 no easy task. But at any rate you know that this would be their first point of difference from ordinary reformers, that they would refuse to take in hand either individual or state or to legislate before they either received a clean slate or themselves made it clean.” “And they would be right,” he said. “And thereafter, do you not think that they would sketch the figure of the constitution?” “Surely.” “And then, [501b] I take it, in the course of the work they would glance2 frequently in either direction, at justice, beauty, sobriety and the like as they are in the nature of things,3 and alternately at that which they were trying to reproduce in mankind, mingling and blending from various pursuits that hue of the flesh, so to speak, deriving their judgement from that likeness of humanity4 which Homer too called when it appeared in men the image and likeness of God.5” “Right,” he said. “And they would erase one touch or stroke and paint in another [501c] until in the measure of the possible6 they had made the characters of men pleasing and dear to God as may be.” “That at any rate7 would be the fairest painting.” “Are we then making any impression on those who you said8 were advancing to attack us with might and main? Can we convince them that such a political artist of character and such a painter exists as the one we then were praising when our proposal to entrust the state to him angered them, and are they now in a gentler mood when they hear what we are now saying?” “Much gentler,” [501d] he said, “if they are reasonable.” “How can they controvert it9? Will they deny that the lovers of wisdom are lovers of reality and truth?” “That would be monstrous,” he said. “Or that their nature as we have portrayed it is akin to the highest and best?” “Not that either.” “Well, then, can they deny that such a nature bred in the pursuits that befit it will be perfectly good and philosophic so far as that can be said of anyone? Or will they rather say it of those whom we have excluded?” [501e] “Surely not.” “Will they, then, any longer be fierce with us when we declare that, until the philosophic class wins control, there will be no surcease of trouble for city or citizens nor will the polity which we fable10 in words be brought to pass in deed?” “They will perhaps be less so,” he said. “Instead of less so, may we not say that they have been altogether tamed and convinced, so that

1 Cf. Vol. I. on 426 B. This is one of the passages that may be used or misused to class Plato with the radicaIs. Cf. Laws 736 A-B, Polit. 293 D, Euthyphro 2 D-3 A. H. W. Schneider, The Puritan Mind, p. 36, says, “Plato claimed that before his Republic could be established the adult population must be killed off.” Cf. however Vol. I. Introd. p. xxxix, What Plato Said, p. 83, and infra, p. 76, note a on 502 B.

2 The theory of ideas frequently employs this image of the artist looking off to his model and back again to his work. Cf. on 484 C, and What Plato Said, p. 458, Unity of Plato's Thought, p. 37.

3 i.e. the idea of justice. For φύσις and the theory of ideas Cf. 597 C, Phaedo 103 b, Parmen. 132 D, Cratyl. 389 C-D, 390 E.

4 For ἀνδρείκελον Cf. Cratyl. 424 E.

5 Il. i. 131, Od. iii. 416. Cf. 589 D, 500 C-D, Laws 818 B-C, and What Plato Said, p. 578 on Theaet. 176 B, Cic.Tusc. i. 26. 65 “divina mallem ad not.” Cf. also Tim. 90 A, Phaedr. 249 C. The modern reader may think of Tennyson, In Mem. cviii. “What find I in place But mine own phantom chanting hymns?” Cf. also Adam ad loc.

6 Cf. 500 D and on 493 D.

7 For γοῦν cf. supra, vol. I. on 334 A.

8 Cf. 474 A.

9 Cf. 591 A. This affirmation of the impossibility of denial or controversy is a motif frequent in the attic orators. Cf. Lysias xxx. 26, xxxi. 24, xiii. 49, vi. 46, etc.

10 Cf. 376 D, Laws 632 E, 841 C, Phaedr. 276 E. Frutiger, Les Mythes de Platon, p. 13, says Plato uses the word μῦθος only once of his own myths, Polit. 268 E.

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