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""The True Lie":Just or Unjust?"
"The True Lie":Just or Unjust?
Kelly G Hess
PLSI 275 1st Paper

October 9, 2003

"The True Lie": Just or Unjust?

"Then for the rulers of the city, if for anyone, it is proper to use falsehood, to deal with enemies or indeed with citizens for the benefit of the city..." (Plato 186)

The central focus of "The Republic" is answering the question of whether it is more beneficial to live justly or unjustly. Through the dialogues concerning a just society, several sub-questions develop, including the subject of lying. Is it just to tell a lie? Is there a distinction between types of lies? These questions are explored throughout this piece, including a small part of Book III that tells the story of "The Myth of the Metals". It examines the controversy of lying in the context that a "falsehood" may actually benefit a society, and increase the stability of it.

"The Myth of the Metals" is a fictional story that is used as an example for a "necessary lie". It would be told to the people of the city that their upbringing and education was all a dream. The people were actually being "moulded" inside the earth to then be delivered, and to live on the land and protect it as if it was their mother. Because all came from the inside of the earth, they will view everyone as their brothers and sisters. They will then be told that while they were being made, bits of metal were used on each of them. On some, God used gold, which meant they were fit to rule. On others, He used silver on the "assistants" (or guardians), and then used iron or brass on farmers and craftsmen. "Then because of being all akin you would beget your likes for the most part, but sometimes a silver child may be born from a golden...

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