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[558a] if it occurs to you to do so, is not all that a heavenly and delicious entertainment1 for the time being?” “Perhaps,” he said, “for so long.” “And is not the placability2 of some convicted criminals exquisite3? Or have you never seen in such a state men condemned to death or exile who none the less stay on, and go to and fro among the people, and as if no one saw or heeded him, the man slips in and out4 like a revenant5?” “Yes, many,” he said. “And the tolerance of democracy, [558b] its superiority6 to all our meticulous requirements, its disdain or our solemn7 pronouncements8 made when we were founding our city, that except in the case of transcendent9 natural gifts no one could ever become a good man unless from childhood his play and all his pursuits were concerned with things fair and good,—how superbly10 it tramples under foot all such ideals, caring nothing from what practices11 and way of life a man turns to politics, but honoring him [558c] if only he says that he loves the people!12” “It is a noble13 polity, indeed!” he said. “These and qualities akin to these democracy would exhibit, and it would, it seems, be a delightful14 form of government, anarchic and motley, assigning a kind of equality indiscriminately to equals and unequals alike!15” “Yes,” he said, “everybody knows that.”

“Observe, then, the corresponding private character. Or must we first, as in the case of the polity, consider the origin of the type?” “Yes,” he said. “Is not this, then, the way of it? Our thrifty16 oligarchical man [558d] would have a son bred in his father's ways.” “Why not?” “And he, too, would control by force all his appetites for pleasure that are wasters and not winners of wealth, those which are denominated unnecessary.” “Obviously.” “And in order not to argue in the dark, shall we first define17 our distinction between necessary and unnecessary appetites18?” “Let us do so.” “Well, then, desires that we cannot divert or suppress may be properly called necessary, [558e] and likewise those whose satisfaction is beneficial to us, may they not? For our nature compels us to seek their satisfaction.

1 διαγωγή: cf. 344 E, where it is used more seriously of the whole conduct of life. Cf. also Theaet. 177 A, Polit. 274 D, Tim. 71 D, Laws 806 E, Aristot.Met. 981 b 18 and 982 b 24 uses the word in virtual anaphora with pleasure. See too Zeller, Aristot. ii. pp. 307-309, 266, n. 5.

2 Cf. 562 D. For the mildness of the Athenian democracy cf. Aristot.Ath. Pol. 22. 19, Demosth. xxi. 184, xxii. 51, xxiv. 51 Lysias vi. 34, Isoc.Antid. 20, Areopagit. 67-68, Hel. 27; also Menex. 243 E and also Euthydem. 303 Dδημοτικόν τι καὶ πρᾷον ἐν τοῖς λόγοις. Here the word πρᾳότης is ironically transferred to the criminal himself.

3 κομψή: cf. 376 A, Theaet. 171 A.

4 For περινοστεῖ cf. Lucian, Bis Acc. 6, Aristoph.Plut. 121, 494, Peace 762.

5 His being unnoticed accords better with the rendering “spirit,” “one returned from the dead” (a perfectly possible meaning for ἥρως. Wilamowitz, Platon, i. p. 435 translates “Geist”) than with that of a hero returning from the wars. Cf. Adam ad loc.

6 For οὐδ᾽ ὁπωστιοῦν σμικρολογία cf. on 532 Bἔτι ἀδυναμία.

7 σεμνύνοντες here has an ironical or colloquial tone—“high-brow,” “top-lofty.”

8 Cf. 401 B-C, 374 C and on 467 A, Laws 643 B, Delacroix, Psychologie de l'art, p. 46.

9 For ὑπερβεβλημένη Cf. Laws 719 D, Eurip.Alcest. 153.

10 μεγαλοπρεπῶς is often ironical in Plato. Cf. 362 C, Symp. 199 C, Charm. 175 C, Theaet. 161 C, Meno 94 B, Polit. 277 B, Hipp. Maj. 291 E.

11 In Aristoph.Knights 180 ff. Demosthenes tells the sausage-seller that his low birth and ignorance and his trade are the very things that fit him for political leadership.

12 Cf. Aristoph.Knights 732 f., 741 and passim. Andoc. iv. 16εὔνους τῷ δήμῳ. Emile Faguet, Moralistes, iii. p. 84, says of Tocqueville, “Il est bien je crois le premier qui ait dit que la démocratie abaisse le niveau intellectuel des gouvernements.” For the other side of the democratic shield see Thucyd. ii. 39.

13 For the ironical use of γενναία cf. 544 C, Soph. 231 B, Theaet. 209 E.

14 ἡδεῖα: cf. Isoc. vii. 70 of good government,τοῖς χρωμένοις ἡδίους.

15 Cf. What Plato Said, p. 634, on Laws 744 B-C, and ibid. p. 508 on Gorg. 508 A, Aristot.Eth. Nic. 1131 a 23-24, Newman, i. p. 248, Xen.Cyr. ii. 2. 18.

16 Cf. 572 C, Theogn. 915 f., Anth. Pal. x. 41, Democr. fr. 227 and 228, DieIs ii.3 p. 106, and 45, Diels i.3 126.

17 Cf. What Plato Said, p.485, on Laches 190 B, and p. 551, on Phaedr. 237 E.

18 Cf. 554 A, 571 B, Phaedo 64 D-E, Phileb. 62 E, Aristot.Eth. Nic. 1147 b 29. The Epicureans made much of this distinction. Cf. Cic.De fin. i. 13. 45, Tusc. v. 33, 93, Porphyry, De abst. i. 49. Ath. xii. 511 quotes this passage and says it anticipates the Epicureans.

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