THE Republic of Plato touches on so many problems of
human life and thought, and appeals to so many diverse
types of mind and character, that an editor cannot pretend to
have exhausted its significance by means of a commentary.
The Critias is a fragment which breaks off in the middle of a sentence. It was designed to be the second part of
a trilogy, which, like the other great Platonic trilogy of the Sophist, Statesman, Philosopher, was never
completed. Timaeus had brought down the origin of the world to the creation of man, and the dawn of history
was now to succeed the philosophy of nature. The Critias is also connected with the Republic. Plato, as he has
already told us (Tim.), intended to represent the ideal state engaged in a patriotic conflict.
The beasts of Plato
In the Republic, Plato describes the essential nature of the soul and the inner workings of the human person, and he does it “by forming in speech an image of the soul” (Republic, 588b–589b). According to this image, the human soul has three parts.
THE attempt to conceive imaginatively a better ordering of human
society than the destructive and cruel chaos in which mankind has
hitherto existed is by no means modern: it is at least as old as Plato,
whose "Republic" set the model for the Utopias of subsequent philosophers.
Whoever contemplates the world in the light of an ideal - whether
what he seeks be intellect, or art, or love, or simple happiness, or all together
- must feel a great sorrow in the evils that men needlessly allow to
continue, and - if he be a man of force and vital energy - an urgent desire
to lead men...