Analysis of Plato's The Republic

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An Analysis of The Republic

The Republic is an examination of the "Good Life"; the harmony reached by applying pure reason and justice. The ideas and arguments of Plato center on the social settings of an ideal republic - those that lead each person to the most perfect possible life for him. Socrates was Plato's early mentor in real life. As a tribute to his teacher, Plato uses Socrates in several of his works and dialogues. Socrates moderates the discussion throughout, as Plato's mouthpiece. Through Socrates' powerful and brilliant questions and explanations on a series of topics, the reader comes to understand what Plato's model society would look like. The basic plan of the Republic is to draw an analogy between the operation of society as a whole and the life of any individual human being. In this paper I will present Plato’s argument that the soul is divides into three parts. I will examine what these parts are, and I will also explain his arguments behind this conclusion. Finally, I will describe how Plato relates the three parts of the soul to a city the different social classes within that city.

Plato supposed that people exhibit the same features, and perform the same functions that city-states do. Applying the analogy in this way presumes that each of us, like the state, is a complex whole made up of several distinct parts, each of which has its own proper role. But Plato argued that there is evidence of this in our everyday experience. When faced with choices about what to do, we commonly feel the tug of many different impulses drawing us in different directions all at once, and the most natural explanation for this situ...

... middle of paper ... own desires rather than his subjects needs is not virtuous. Second, a person in the military, who is supposed to be courageous may desert his fellow troops in fear. Third, many common people commit crimes, and create conflict within the community. None of these people are virtuous. However, this is exactly what Plato was getting at. Plato believes that when each of these classes performs its own role and does not try to take over any other class, the entire city as a whole will operate smoothly, showing the harmony that is genuine justice. (ln 433e) What makes the Republic such an important and interesting piece of literature is that by examining what brings true justice and harmony to the world, we can therefore understand all of the virtues by considering how each is placed within the organization of an ideal city.
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