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Plato Sophocles The Stronger.doc

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1Early in Platos Republic Socrates is having a debate with some of his friends about what justice is One of Socrates friends named Polemarchus backs up his argument by quoting the poet Simonides This shows that in Ancient Greece poets were considered to be authorities on important questions of politics Even though Sophocles Antigone is a dramatic play and not a book about politics like Platos Republic in Ancient Greece people might have been just as likely to look to playwrights as philosophers to answer these important questions In fact both Antigone and Republic are stories full of situations that require people to judge whether what the characters say is right or wrong and then think about what this means in their own everyday lives Today most people in the west have opinions about politics and justice that are influenced by growing up in democratic liberal countries but in Ancient Greece democracy was not the most popular kind of government This meant that people like Thrasymachus in Republic and Creon in Antigone have very different opinions about politics and justice that are a lot more autocratic than most peoples today and that these opinions might have been very widely held so Plato and Sophocles put them in situations where their opinions get tested According to Thrasymachus justice is nothing but the advantage of the stronger Republic 338c and he later says that the stronger is defined as a ruler who never makes errors and unerringly decrees what is best for himself Republic 341a Creons idea of law is that whatever he decrees is just even when it goes against the laws of the gods because the gods cannot be unjust and so they must agree with Creons law But there are some very important differences between Thrasymachus opinions and Creons The most important part of what Thrasymachus says is what the stronger means Even though Thrasymachus is talking about it as something a leader is Creon says that all of his rules are to benefit the city and so for him the stronger means the city as a whole and he is just serving it Creon believes that if the people are just and that means
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