The Republic

At whom is this text directed? Describe some of their characteristics of the audience.


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Follow the link provided below, go to page 117, footnote #3. Other information is also available in this text, simply type your keywords into the search box.

There are many opinions about who Plato actually focused on when writing the Republic, and I've always believed that the text was intended for a malleable body of novice students. The article cited above makes me question my own opinion, so I'd suggest you check it out.


Plato wrote 'The Republic' in around 360BC. He wrote it in order to explore the notion of justice and specifically if the 'just' man can be happier than the 'unjust' man. It is a dialogue that goes to the heart of the true nature of philosophy and he does this by constructing an imaginary city that is ruled by philosopher kings.

The point that is essentially made is that justice is preferable to injustice, in that justice is the action of doing the right thing.A truly just society has the city-state mirroring the soul. (the soul has three parts and the three classes correspond to these areas - the guardians are wisdom, the auxilaries are courageous and the workers exhibit moderation).

Because of the human desire for power and the tendancy toward corruption that leads to tyranny, philosophic rule is advocated. The work explores government types and is a treatise on government.

Presumably the contemporary audience for whom Plato was writing included many of Socrates' admirers. They would be predisposed to think that a character called “Socrates” would have all of the intellectual brilliance and moral passion of the historical person after whom he is named (especially since Plato often makes special efforts to give his “Socrates” a life-like reality, and has him refer to his trial or to the characteristics by which he was best known); and the aura surrounding the character called “Socrates” would give the words he speaks in the dialogue considerable persuasive power. Furthermore, if Plato felt strongly indebted to Socrates for many of his philosophical techniques and ideas, that would give him further reason for assigning a dominant role to him in many of his works.

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what is the rhetorical occasion of the text


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