Essay on The Notions of Justice in The Republic and Antigone

Essay on The Notions of Justice in The Republic and Antigone

Length: 1696 words (4.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Within two classical works of philosophical literature, notions of justice are presented plainly. Plato’s The Republic and Sophocles’ Antigone both address elements of death, tyranny and immorality, morality, and societal roles. These topics are important elements when addressing justice, whether in the societal representation or personal representation.
Antigone uses the concept of death in many ways when unfolding the tragic story of Antigone and her rebellion. The most obvious way is how death is used as a form of capital punishment and justice against state-dubbed criminals and wrongdoers. The play first exhibits this notion when Antigone states, “No passing humor, for the edict says who’er transgresses shall be stoned to death” (Sophocles, p. 3). The head of the state, Creon, uses death as a form of justice for the man or woman who is to disobey his law. Creon also emphasizes this by threatening a guard when he is notified that his edict has been violated. Creon states, “Go, quibble with thy reason. If thou fail’st to find these malefactors, thou shalt own the wages of ill-gotten gains is death” (Sophocles, p. 8). Death is once again used as a threat and form of justice for people sinning against the state laws. However, death is not only used as a form of state justice, it is also portrayed as a factor in personal justification and completion. The notion that people are not whole or justified until they die is emphasized by Antigone when she states, “A sinless sinner, banned awhile on earth, but by the dead commended; and with them I shall abide for ever” (Sophocles, p. 4). Antigone says that through death, human life is justified and made complete, and that death is essentially the final form of justice for any human l...


... middle of paper ...


...cause they lie about knowing the true nature of things, and are thus unneeded in a perfect, just society. All three of these points in the ideal society do not correlate with Sophocles’ notions of societal roles and structures in his just society. Sophocles seems to reject roles, especially pertaining to gender, while Plato clearly lays each role out in his just society.
In both Antigone and The Republic, elements of death, tyranny, morality, and societal roles are incorporated into each work’s definition of justice. Both works address the notions of justice in a societal form, and an individual form. However, these definitions of justice differ with some elements, they are closely tied with others.



Works Cited

1. Plato, and Allan David Bloom. The Republic. New York: Basic, 1968. Print.
2. Sophocles, and F. Storr. Antigone. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1912. Print.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Justice in Plato´s The Republic Essay examples

- In book four of Plato's “The Republic” Socrates defines justice in the individual as analogous to justice in the state. I will explain Socrates' definition of justice in the individual, and then show that Socrates cannot certify that his definition of justice is correct, without asking further questions about justice. I will argue that if we act according to this definition of justice, then we do not know when we are acting just. Since neither the meaning of justice, nor the meaning of good judgement, is contained in the definition, then one can act unjustly while obeying to the definition of justice....   [tags: Plato's The Republic]

Powerful Essays
565 words (1.6 pages)

Justice In Plato's The Republic Essay

- Justice In Plato's The Republic Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote “One man’s justice is another’s injustice.” This statement quite adequately describes the relation between definitions of justice presented by Polemarchus and Thrasymachus in Book I of the Republic. Polemarchus initially asserts that justice is “to give to each what is owed” (Republic 331d), a definition he picked up from Simonides. Then, through the unrelenting questioning of Socrates, Polemarchus’ definition evolves into “doing good to friends and harm to enemies” (Republic 332d), but this definition proves insufficient to Socrates also....   [tags: Plato Republic Justice Philosophy Essays]

Powerful Essays
999 words (2.9 pages)

Justice in Plato's Republic Essays

- Justice in Plato's Republic Justice. What is justice. In this world where many people look out only for themselves, justice can be considered the happiness of oneself. But because selfish men do not always decide our standards in society, to find a definition, society should look at the opinions of many. Just as in the modern society to which we live, where everyone feels justice has a different meaning, the society of Plato also struggled with the same problem. In this paper, I will look into the Republic, one of the books of Plato that resides heavily on defining an answer to the meaning of Justice, and try to find an absolute definition....   [tags: Papers Justice Plato Republic Essays]

Free Essays
971 words (2.8 pages)

Justice and Moderation of the Soul in The Republic, by Plato Essay examples

- In his philosophical text, The Republic, Plato argues that justice can only be realized by the moderation of the soul, which he claims reflects as the moderation of the city. He engages in a debate, via the persona of Socrates, with Ademantus and Gaucon on the benefit, or lack thereof, for the man who leads a just life. I shall argue that this analogy reflecting the governing of forces in the soul and in city serves as a sufficient device in proving that justice is beneficial to those who believe in, and practice it....   [tags: The Republic Essays]

Powerful Essays
3023 words (8.6 pages)

The Republic Of Plato : A Life Of Justice Essay

- ... Thrasymachus finally yields his argument once Socrates comes to the conclusion that, because justice is a virtue of the soul, and any soul stripped of one of its core virtues could not possibly lead a happy life, then it is undoubtedly better to lead a just life. Because of this, "injustice, my dear Thrasymachus," says Socrates, "can never pay better than justice," (p. 39). The next challenge Socrates faces are those of Glaucon and Adeimantus. Glaucon presents his challenge first. He is a man who believes in justice, but he is not convinced that it is a virtue, rather that it is a necessary hardship that men impose on themselves....   [tags: Soul, Plato, Justice, Ethics]

Powerful Essays
2040 words (5.8 pages)

Justice in The Republic by Socrates Essay

- In The Republic, Socrates tries to find the answer to a debatable question. What is justice. Throughout Book 1, he is given a couple of definitions that were at first incoherent to him and so he decided to clear them up by questioning Cephalus’s and his son Polemarchus’s definitions of “justice” . In Book 1, Socrates is about to leave from a religious festival when a group of men stopped him and convinced him to stay for the late night festivities. In the meantime, Socrates will be given a detour to Polemarchus’s home....   [tags: justice, truth, good]

Powerful Essays
519 words (1.5 pages)

Model of Justice in Plato's The Republic Essay

- Model of Justice in Plato's The Republic In what is perhaps his most well-known text, The Republic, Plato explores the fundamental concept of justice, how it is observed in the world, and its application to the lives of men. When he identifies the good in Book VI, which is reality and knowledge in their true forms, Plato also describes the visual world of shadows and false reality that people perceive and is cast by the sun. What follows from these definitions is that, while justice is a concept that exists autonomously from injustice and other fleeting conditions, injustice requires justice to be a medium for it to exist, develop, and spread itself....   [tags: Republic Plato Philosophy]

Powerful Essays
1719 words (4.9 pages)

Justice and Morality in Plato's Republic Essay examples

- Introduction This essay discusses and clarifies a concept that is central to Plato's argument in the Republic — an argument in favour of the transcendent value of justice as a human good; that justice informs and guides moral conduct. Plato's argument implies that justice and morality are intimately interconnected, because the excellence and goodness of human life — the best way for a person to live — is intimately dependent upon and closely interwoven with those 'things that we find desirable in themselves and for their consequences [1]....   [tags: justice as a human good]

Powerful Essays
3136 words (9 pages)

The Republic By Plato Essay

- "The Republic" by Plato The Republic written by Plato examines many things. It mainly is about the Good life. Plato seems to believe that the perfect life is led only under perfect conditions which is the perfect society. Within the perfect society there would have to be justice. In the Republic it seems that justice is defined many different ways. In this paper I am going to discuss a few. First I am going to discuss the reason why Glaucon and Adeimantus see justice as being a bad thing and it is better to live a unjust life....   [tags: Republic Justice Plato Essays]

Powerful Essays
1084 words (3.1 pages)

Plato’s Republic: Justice and Injustice in Thrasymachus' Account Essay

- Plato’s Republic: Justice and Injustice in Thrasymachus' Account ABSTRACT: This paper has a two-fold task. First, I show that there are three types of individuals associated with the Thrasymachean view of society: (a) the many, i.e., the ruled or those exploited individuals who are just and obey the laws of the society; (b) the tyrant or ruler who sets down laws in the society in order to exploit the many for personal advantage; (c) the "stronger" individual (kreittoon) or member of the society who is detached from the many and aspires to become the tyrant....   [tags: Plato Republic]

Powerful Essays
6573 words (18.8 pages)