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The Republic by Plato - Barron's Booknotes
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THE TYRANNICAL MAN (571a-576b)

Within the soul of each individual, Socrates says, there are tyrants. These tyrants are the unnecessary, lawless appetites that disturb our dreams. The healthy, sober individual, however, neither starves nor indulges his appetites. His appetitive part is lulled to sleep by reason as, also, is his passionate (emotional) part. On the other hand, the tyrannical man allows his beastly, savage part "to sally forth and satisfy its own instincts." But how does the tyrannical man come to be? What is the cause of his shameful, foul nature?

The democratic man, you will recall, was the son of the stingy, oligarchic man who disapproved of all unnecessary appetites, especially those whose object was entertainment. As a result the democratic man rebelled against his father's miserly ways and sought a compromise between moderation and indulgence. In a similar fashion the democratic son rebels against his father and pursues a life of uncontrolled appetites and passions.



Socrates describes the tyrannical man as a "monstrous winged drone" who has "madness for his bodyguard." He is a deranged man, drunken, lustful, maniacal. His appetites control his actions and lead him, if necessary, to rob and even kill his own parents if they stand in his way. No atrocity is beneath him. He will do anything to satisfy his appetites. He is the most enslaved man among men: He is enslaved from within. And the man who has the mightiest tyrant in his soul will most likely become the tyrant of the state.

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The Republic by Plato - Barron's Booknotes
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