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The Flaw in Plato’s Republic

Plato’s ideal polis requires the parents to corporate and give their children to the state. Thus allowing the molding of the children from an early age, to become model citizens. However, Plato does not explore the possibility that they will not relinquish their guardianship of their own children.  Plato assumes that the parents would be patriotic and offer their children, to serve the greater good for society. Without the consent of the parents, removing the children from the households would cause an uproar, no matter the class. It is against human nature to leave loved ones and having children to fulfil a civic duty, is not a popular belief.

Plato writes The Republic with the certainty of the parent’s willingness to give their children to the state, this is the flaw. It is human nature to do the best for one’s children and abandoning them is not often perceived to be the greatest option. Many would believe that their own style of parenting would be better than the state’s and would not give the state complete control over their children.

In Plato’s republic, the young minds would be taught from beginning with the telling of specific legends that do not position the gods in a bad light. Without complete control over the lessons that the children are taught, the children will be influenced by all of the allegories and legends that they are told. Without the constant lessons taught to every child throughout the polis, there would be a greater chance of individualism and an array of personalities. The variety amongst the citizens would minimize the chance for maximum potential within the auxiliary guardians, guardians and the labourers in their respected classes. The diversity would pose a challenge to the class system that is based on their dominate traits.

In The Republic, the children are bred from the strongest of each class, therefore producing the most optimal offspring for the state. This implicates that having children is a civic duty, which it is not. The citizens are not cattle that can be forced to procreate the perfect children.

Without the flawless children to teach in the best possible way, Plato’s theoretical polis would cease to exist.

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Apollo’s Wrath

Oedipus’s destiny was determined by the gods prior to his existence, he was to symbolize those who undermine the influence of the gods. Apollo, the god of plagues, used Oedipus as an example for Thebes to become aware of the penalty for all who stray from their religious roots. Jocasta’s hubris resulted in the birth of Oedipus, who was destined to murder his father and father her children. She had continued to act in defiance to the gods as she had attempted to prevent the prophecy from becoming a reality. Nevertheless, Apollo had sent a sympathetic shepherd to save Oedipus after Jocasta had “abandoned [him] on a mountain, [to] leave/him alone to die” (P56, lines 943-944), thus allowing him to fulfill his prophecy. Apollo had ensured that Oedipus was to be “born to suffer, born/to misery and grief” (P71, lines 1355-1356), to show the people of Thebes his wrath that would be revealed to those who defy him.

Oedipus’ hubris was accepted by his citizens, as a result, Apollo had cursed them for they had been influenced by the insolence he had towards the gods. Oedipus was also the source of the pestilence that his polis had fallen ill to, he had believed that if he were exiled that they would be cured. I believe that Thebes would heal when Oedipus admits that the power of Apollo is much greater than his own. Oedipus’ subjects must also declare Apollo’s strength to avoid retribution and receive his mercy. Apollo is potent enough to sicken and restore the health of the people, Oedipus was sent to remind Thebes of Apollo’s competence as well as the authority of the gods.


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