Reading Questions on Plato’s Republic, Book IV

Book IV is the last book before the long digression in The Republic. It is also the book where we finally get the definition of justice, which, it turns out, has been right in front of our faces all along….

(1) How does Socrates respond to the objection that his guardians and auxiliaries may not be happy, since they do not possess material luxuries?

(2) What are some of the ways that Socrates proposes to prevent social unrest?

(3) Why does Socrates think it is so important to avoid innovations in music and poetry?

(4) What are some of the things Socrates insists should not be legislated/regulated (cf. 425b)? Why isn’t it necessary or helpful to legislate such matters?

(5) Focus the bulk of your attention on Socrates’ definitions of the virtues (wisdom, courage, moderation, and justice). What are each of these virtues and where are they to be found in the city?

(6) How does Socrates go about proving that there are different parts to the soul? What parts does he identify?

(7) What does justice in the soul look like, according to Socrates?


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