Free Primary Source Analysis Essay Sample
Plato – The Republic
‘The Republic’ is one of the most famous Plato’s dialogues which were related to the height of his creative activity around 380 BC. It was created over the years. ‘The Republic’ absorbed all the concepts of the thinker’s doctrines, including his idea of justice, art and art education, as well as the project of the ideal state as the implementation of the ideal of justice, the theory of ideas and a number of the consequent specific conclusions; the concept of free knowledge which was developed in Neo-Platonism. There are ten parts or books and many actors in ‘The Republic.’ Most of them are passive listeners and wordless personages. The main person of this work is Socrates. Near Socrates here are the Plato’s blood brothers Adeimantus and Glaucon, to whom Socrates refers and who create the conversation.
The form of the questions and answers in ‘The Republic’ is convenient for Plato, because he can test his own thoughts and theories. He continually forces his interlocutors to give the cues to create a pretext for the further development of the ideas of Socrates. The reflections in ‘The Republic’ create the difficult conversational system.
The true political art is the art of saving and nurturing of the soul, so that is why Plato brings the thesis of the coincidence of the true philosophy with the true policy. The true state, which is based on the highest values of Truth and Goodness, can be created if a politician becomes a philosopher (and vice versa). The building of the city-state means to understand the man and his place in the Universe. In fact, ‘The Republic’ is like a stage performance with one actor who is a playmaker of all roles. However, it is not a theater of dramatic situations. ‘The Republic’ includes the dramatic thoughts, which are difficult to differentiate and sometimes are elusive.
In the seventh book of ‘The Republic’ for clearness of the presentation of thoughts about the existence of the soul and the knowledge of things Plato presents the Allegory of the Cave. The image of the Plato's cave in the dialogue symbolizes the mechanism of the government and the sense of life of each person living in state and for the benefit to it. Plato compares the lives of people in the cave with the real coexistence of the people in the state. The Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is written as a dialogue between Socrates, his teacher, and Glaucon, brother of Plato, where Socrates tells the story about an ideal state.
The dialogue begins with the comparison by Socrates of the human nature with relation of the education and illiteracy with the people who live in a certain cave. The cave is a deep hole, on top of which it was a small slit with the clearance. People who lived in this cave from an early age were bounded by the shackles, so that they could neither turn heads from side to side, they could only see the things before their eyes. Behind the people, it was the light from the fire that burned far away from them at the top. People could only see the shadows which casted on the wall by the outgoing light from the fire. These shadows were appeared by the things, which the people outside carried. And the prisoners by the reason of their ignorance did not know the true origin of the shadows, and they believed that these shadows were the objects themselves and gave them the appropriate names.
Plato, in his dialogue ‘The Republic’ by the mouth of Socrates, compares the prisoners of the cave with the unenlightened people in the state. As prisoners in a cave know almost nothing about the truth of things and the origin of the shadows, thus, the ‘uneducated’ people make little sense on the constitution and state ruling. Based on the level of education, everyone should play a certain role in the state. Rulers have to be philosophers, the guards should guard, and ordinary workers have to feed all the others. So these workers were compared with the prisoners in a cave, who knew nothing, but only assumed. And they assumed under the supervision of some people who, carrying objects on the other side of the wall, gave the names of these subjects. This was the task of philosophers – to rule and govern the others.
‘The Republic’ is not an essay about state law, arts management, law or politics in the modern sense. In his discussion Plato takes the examples of historically existing peoples, e.g. Athenian or Spartan. Plato created his model of the state rather for the city than for a vast territory, although it could easily be applied to the large state-owned groups. It should also be remembered that Plato, as well as the ancient thought, did not have the property of the systematizing of the problematic.
Despite described in ‘The Republic,’ Plato manages more or less to set the clear questions and to build an exemplary system of the state system. The work begins with the basics, that is, with those who are necessary to the state in the production and maintenance, protection and so on. Along the way, Plato consider the question of goodness, justice (the reward due to each person), as far as Plato shows that the justice is beneficial for the stronger and so forth.
Plato. Book VII. Plato Republic. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2004. Print