LAST_PAPER - 1 Happiness Within Justice According to...

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1 Happiness Within Justice According to Socrates Socrates was insistent on dispelling poets from his just city under the premise they were imitators of the truth and corrupters of the soul. Although he enjoyed the music of poets such as Homer, his reasoning that they did not know the truth, and therefore could not portray the truth for their listeners, caused him to conclude they would lead citizens astray. However, without the portrayal of what is wrong and unjust, there are no options to make a choice, making it difficult to say the citizens choose justice over injustice. In addition to this issue, the removal of poets and other artists not only makes it difficult for citizens to choose justice, but eliminates elements of society that make citizens happy and truly human. Socrates makes it clear that he is suspicious of poets because of their affect on the souls of the people in his just city. Their position of being third from the true nature of things, after the creator and the craftsman, supports his claim that products of imitators, such as paintings and poetry, would be detrimental and corrupt pure, rational souls. Even in the poetry of the great bard, Homer, Socrates sees no contributing value for his city. He sees no benefit to society coming from Homer in the same sense as “…Lacedaemon was [better governed] thanks to Lycurgus…” ( 599 d ). Socrates is not even able to see an educational benefit in the works of Homer. He asks Glaucon, “…if Homer were really able to educate human beings and make them better because he is in these things capable not of imitating but of knowing, do you suppose that he wouldn’t have made many comrades and been honored and cherished by them?” ( 600 c ). On the other hand, through his questioning of the benefit of Homer’s poetry, Socrates causes his audience (and Plato, his readers) to question Socrates himself on the same basis. At the time, Socrates had his group of followers, but was disliked by his society to the point of eventually being poisoned by them. He certainly could not know what great things would come of his
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2 words, as came of Homer’s. In his lifetime, also, Socrates did not cause any cities to be governed better, so in a sense, he was just as useful as he saw Homer to be. Therefore, since Socrates would not consider himself useless or non-influential, it is possible to surmise that the men who heard the words of Homer were unjust and irrational themselves in not allowing Homer’s sense of justice to influence their governing. In Socrates’ time, the poetry of Homer was pleasurable and entertaining, but not influential. However, the fact that it’s still being studied and analyzed by modern intellectuals points to the conclusion that Homer’s stories did in fact hold value and contain truth enough that it is still being extracted today. The fact that the truth in Homer’s tragedies has to be extracted instead of being clear and
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LAST_PAPER - 1 Happiness Within Justice According to...

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