Why does Socrates believe that the guardians must 'supervise the makers of tales’? - Essay Prowess

Why does Socrates believe that the guardians must ‘supervise the makers of tales’?


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Why does Socrates believe that the guardians must ‘supervise the makers of tales’?


Education begins in the early years among children through telling them tales because that is the time when people are malleable. Socrates believes that the tales must be censored strictly since children absorb everything they get exposed (Naddaff, 2002). This paper discusses the Socrates’ reasons that he believed that the guardians must supervise the makers of tales. It also supports the Adeimantus’ argument of living in fear of injustice after learning good morals from good tales, as demonstrated by Socrates.

Socrates claims that young children cannot judge what is hidden and that at the tender age, it is impossible eradicate what the children learns from the tales. Therefore, children learn their behaviours from good and bad tales, but it is more likely that children emulate bad examples from tales to justify their own bad behavior. However, Socrates argues that a carefully fashioned tales enable the nurses and mothers to nurture the souls of their children. In addition, the children are anticipated to accept whatever they are told by their elders with little free-thought. The Socrates suggests that the content of tales should impart certain theology values and virtues to the hearers of the tales, children (Morgan, 2011).

Socrates disagrees with great poets, Homer and Hesiod, who created unsuitable tales of lies, with unrealistic images of heroes and gods. They argued that it was unjust to show God as unjust for fear, which would make the children believe that it was honorable and acceptable to do injustice. Therefore, Socrates suggests that the tales describing the fight among gods become unjustified to those being narrated, thus the children must be told that it is wrong for citizens to angry with one another. It is through learning of good tales that youths see the importance of unity, thus declining them from fighting against each other when they grow up. Furthermore, Socrates refers to the poets as the men of the world where deception and lies are ever-present. However, the Socrates recommends that children should solely look to the human guardians, as well as the law for guidance in order to shape their behaviour (Howland, 2004).

Socrates decrees that good tales fosters moderation of behavior, fosters courage, and justice. People should praise the underworld so that the warriors would never fear death, and that children should learn to grow fearing slavery more than death. In addition, all the tales should not include the hero Achilles in order to avoid the lamentation of children from immoderate emotions, which are adored for fear and may result to adoption of such practices by children. Besides, tales should not display excessive happiness as this may intimidate the stoic attitude that is needed in guardians telling the tales. The suitable tales must glorify and embrace encouragement by displaying obedience to the superiors and that they should restrain children from drinking, sex, possessions, and love of money. Moreover, tales must demonstrate the aspect of bravery in the face of danger to the children (Morgan, 2011).

However, Socrates claims that most existing tales send inappropriate messages to the audience hence there is a need to outlaw them. The tales depicts injustice as profitable, describes justice as being someone else’s good and the loss to others, and shows unjust men as happy and vice versa. Similarly, Adeimantus supports the Socrates’ argument of inappropriate messages sent by wicked tales, as being against the usefulness of justice. Socrates suggests that children should be told tales concerning the real justice rather than being told the existing tales including those by Hesiod and Homer. The three of the four principal virtues by Socrates such as justice, moderation, and courage illustrate the important lessons about the worth of telling appropriate tale, but they lack wisdom. The oversight of wisdom by Socrates insinuates that guardians should blindly accept whatever Socrates them. In addition, the argument by Socrates that the behaviour of children should be entirely shaped by the good tales, further suggests that the guardians are not envisioned to be philosophical and wise (Naddaff, 2002).

In addition to describing the content of suitable tales, Socrates further discusses whether the imitative or simple narratives should be used by guardians and poets. Socrates urged that the imitative poetry portray dangerous virtues since it encourages the people to emulate bad behaviour while supporting the violation of the principle of one man-one job. However, Socrates suggests that in the event that the poets and guardians imitate the good tales and shares them to the children, the tales must rely on the idea the children would copy the good examples. Therefore, the guardians and poets must imitate real tales which embrace the virtues of holiness, courage, moderation, and freedom in order to help the children in nurturing the good behaviours (Howland, 2004).

Socrates insisted that the continuous practice of imitations by the youths translate imitation as habits in the bodies, thoughts, and speeches of the youths. Therefore, Socrates recommends the pots and guardians to use non-imitative narratives as a precise style in telling tales, but should allow some imitation of good men. Additionally, Socrates states that the preference for non-imitative poets disregards the most treasured and entertaining poets from the city, in support of more solemn and less-pleasing poets. Adeimantus supports Socrates by stating that poets must be less pleasing, and he freely gave up his favorite poets. In addition, Socrates states that a careful tales construction is a vital since and the most effective methods of educating the souls of guardians. The soul is directly touched by the harmony and rhythm of the tales (Naddaff, 2002).

However, if the children are entirely surrounded by the goodness of tales and at no occasion the wicked tales are exposed to them, the children would learn to love what they know including justice and goodness, and they would hate what they do not know such as injustice. Socrates decrees that, as the child learns to love the good things while hating the wrong things, they appreciate sensible and realistic speech, which helps them to find pleasure to live moderately when grown. Socrates disagrees with Glaucon’s love for corrupt pleasures by asserting that, it is through education that leads to the acquisition of maximum virtues, thus refining the taste of pleasures. Socrates demonstrates to him that a child with proper education would lead a fulfilling life of honorable virtues including freedom, courage, moderation, but with an exemption of excessive pleasure and sex (Howland, 2004).


The literature provides supportive evidence that is built on the perspective of Adeimantus’ argument. Adeimantus stated that if Socrates had initially persuaded the people to live in the goodness of telling good tales, as from youths onwards, people would not have kept guard over each other for fear of injustice done. However, Adeimantus states that each person would be his best guard and that they would have fear in doing injustice in order to avoid their association with the greatest evil. Therefore, Adeimantus supports Socrates argument that must supervise the makers of tales, in order to ensure that the tales told to their children provide good morals from childhood to adulthood.


Howland, J. (2004). The Republic: The Odyssey of philosophy. Philadelphia: Paul Dry Books.

Morgan, M. L. (2011). Classics of moral and political theory. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub. Co.

Naddaff, R. (2002). Exiling the poets: The production of censorship in Plato’s Republic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.