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The Justice of “The Republic” Essay

In his book “the Republic”, Plato tried to build up an ideal society. He divided the ideal society into three classes: rulers, guardians, and workers. As long as each class of people lived harmonious and did their responsibilities, the society would become stable and prosperous. How did make people live with harmony? Obviously, the core issue of “the republic” is justice. Justice is a proper, harmonious relationship among the people in the three classes. Plato suggested that three virtues of individual which were wisdom, courage, and moderation would make individual person just.

Also, in order to get the justice, Plato used the “Gold lie” to placate unhappiness with one’s place in life. The three classes were component of the society, and each of these three classes has a certain virtue. The first class of people is rulers. The rulers had the virtues of wisdom. They were the minority of the ideal society who needed to be knowledgeable. They were not easily deceived, and must care for the society greatly. Their responsibility was to pursue what was most advantageous to the society and maintain the stability of the society.

The second class is guardians. Guardians were the people who protect the entire society. They had the virtues of courage. They must receive physical training and had patriotic attitude to defend the country from enemies. The last class is workers. They were the majority of people in the society who practice specific form of labors. They provided necessary food, clothing and other needs for all people in the whole society. Because they must obey the order of the rulers and were regulated by the guardians, they had virtues of moderation.

The idea of harmony is very important for Plato to definite justice. As Plato explains: “Justice, I think, is exactly what we said must be established throughout the city when we were founding it that everyone must practice one of the occupations in the city for which he is naturally best suited”. (Plato) Justice for Plato means each part of society worked together in the best way, with each part of society content to play out its particular role as best it can, and they would not interfere with each other.

Specifically, since rulers were very knowledgeable, they used their wisdom to establish regulations and institutions in order for the social prosperity and stability. Because guardians and workers didn’t have wisdom, the leader of the society should only be rulers. Guardians were courageous, and they had the characteristics of the soldiers. The rulers governed the society with the help of guardians. Workers could not be guardians because they didn’t have virtues of wisdom and courage. Workers were the lowest level class in society. Because they were moderate, they were willing to perform the basic jobs in society and be leaded by rules and guardians.

Clearly, a just man was a man in just the right place, doing his best and giving the precise equivalent of what he had received. In order to live harmonious for the three classes, Plato used “Gold Lie” to placate unhappiness with one’s place in life. Plato said that individuals were born with different metals mixed into their bodies: gold, silver, and bronze. The rulers were mixed with gold, so they were precious. The guardians were mixed with some sliver, and workers were mixed with bronze. The metal mixed into their bodies determined their places in the society.

Even though Plato’s theory of justice had been a lot of criticism, he argued that the lie was very necessary for the stability of society. It allowed people to do their responsibilities without conflicts. Also, the lie kept people under control by the rulers and be satisfied with their situation in life. Justice was obtained by the three parts of society, and each of classes fulfilling their role as best they can, and displaying the three virtues of wisdom, courage and moderation. This leads to a harmony between the parts, the best possible combination, which is described as justice by Plato within his ideal society “The Republic”.


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