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In Book IX, Socrates and Adeimantus analyze the link between desires and the tyrant while implying that the tyrant is imprisoned by his own emotional issues. He divides the desires into three: “money-loving part…victory-loving part… wisdom-loving part” (9.581a-b). Socrates explains the origin of a tyrant to help the audience understand his family life, reasons for such tyrannical behavior, and to highlight his emotions. First, he mentions that he was raised by a “stingy father who honored only the money-making desires” (9.572c). “Out of hatred of his father’s stinginess” (9.572c), he began to act insolently without living a life hostile to law.

Later, his own son experiences the same thing and “he is drawn to complete hostility to law, though it is named complete freedom by those who are introducing him to it” (9.572d-e). These tyrant-makers make him believe that joining them would give him greater freedom, but Socrates actually admits that “the tyrannic nature never has a taste of freedom” (9.576a).  Therefore, it is quite possible that creating an illusion to freedom is one way to manipulate the young man.

In addition, the tyrant-makers also “implant some love” in the young man and encourage him to be “the leader of the idle desires” (9.572e) by insisting that all resources be equally distributed amongst them. However, it is obvious that the young man is not loved by the tyrant-makers, instead they are using him. Socrates implies this by continuously describing the young man as a drone, which is someone who lives off the work of others, and implying that the tyrant-makers desire to benefit from it. The last step involves planting “the sting of longing” in the drone, earlier known as the young man. The stinging refers to intense desires constantly emerging that will drive him. “If it finds in the man any opinions or desires accounted good… it purges him of moderation and fills him with madness” (9.573b).

Therefore, the process is very similar to a manipulation of his feelings. Socrates even admits that “a man becomes tyrannic in the precise sense when… he has become drunken, erotic, and melancholic” (9.573c). Politically speaking, terrorists are also recruited at a time when a group of people share a common hatred, humiliation, and frustration that leaders use to manipulate and convince them to believe extreme views. In this state of emotional instability, “the tyrant love dwells and pilots all the elements of the soul” (9.573d) as desires spurge. This results to constant spending, until the tyrant has to borrow money and eventually strips away his estate (9.573e). Such extreme spending is probably due to his desire for immediate satisfaction to momentarily solve the emotional emptiness that he feels.

His relationship with his family, particularly his parents, initially created the emotional instability and continues to be ruined by orders from the club members. Under the influence of the tyrant-makers, he will “claim that he deserves to get the better of his father and mother and… take away and distribute the paternal property” (9.574a). Socrates admits that the new tyrant will steal from and deceive his parents if he is not granted what he requests. If they resist, he plans to “strike his elderly and necessary father” (9.574a) and enslave his parents to his oldest friends.

Socrates tells us that tyrants have a history of stealing, breaking into houses, robbing temples, and leading men into slavery. He continuously relates tyranny with love. For example, he states that “a tyranny was established by love” and that “love lives like a tyrant within him in all anarchy and lawlessness” (9.575a). The second example relates to the fact that love is limitless and crosses boundaries, just as a tyrant’s power crosses legal boundaries. However, it is unclear in the first example how love is a foundation for tyranny. This seems to go against Socrates’ discussion regarding a tyrant’s hatred being the source of his behavior and desire in becoming a tyrant. In addition, love could not be referring to his patriotic nature because he plans to “punish the fatherland” and “enslave them to these men” (9.575d) if they do not submit to him willingly. Given the lack of friends and his hatred towards his family, it is unlikely that any pure love exists within his social life. Therefore, Socrates does not make the clear connection between love and tyranny.

As the tyrant’s unacceptable behavior is highlighted, Socrates implies that he is imprisoned by his own emotion. As mentioned above, Socrates argues that a man becomes tyrannical when he is melancholic. He highlights the hatred that needs to exist for a tyrant to arise, which is present in the example with the young man because he despises his father for his stinginess. However, tyrants seem to also be imprisoned by a feeling of loneliness because “they live their whole life without ever being friends of anyone” (9.576a). Socrates states that a kingship is the happiest form of government, while a tyranny is the most wretched form of government. This supports my arguments that tyrants are imprisoned by their own unhappiness.

As mentioned above, they also lack freedom. In fact, they are always considered “one man’s master or another’s slave” (9.576a). Ironically, “while not having control of himself [he] attempts to rule others” (9.579c). The absence of freedom combined with hatred and solitude creates an emotional prison, which hinders his ability to achieve a happy state of mind. Socrates even argues that the tyrant is bound by a prison because he is “full of fears… alone of the men in the city can’t go anywhere abroad or see all the things the other free men desire to see” (9.579b). Instead of arguing that the tyrant was manipulated, Socrates claims that he “is compelled by some chance to be a tyrant” (9.579c). Therefore, he envies any citizen that has the opportunity to travel and he is “overflowing with convulsions and pains” (9.579c-e). This emotional prison increases his negative feelings towards the members of society and makes his behavior more tyrannical.

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