Myth of Er (Plato, Republic)

The Myth of Er is the concluding parable in Plato’s Republic (book X), concerning the fate of souls after death and the choices available to them before reincarnation.

Summary of the Myth

The Warrior, Er, apparently salin in battle, returns to the world to narrate his vision of the afterlife, in which the pursuit of wisdom and justice is shown to be the soul’s only safeguard against present folly and future degradation.

It is noteworthy that the philosopher Plato, having insisted in the Republic, as elsewhere, that the soul is essentially incorporeal, is quite unable, and makes no attempt, to describe the doings and sufferings of supposedly disembodied souls in any terms other than those appropriate to flesh and blood persons.

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