Michael Short Poli Sci 10 Paper #1

Michael Short Poli Sci 10 Paper #1 - Michael Short...

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Michael Short 803781208 Poli Sci 10 10/24/11 A Different Vision Sophocles v. Plato While both Sophocles and Plato present ideas that are seemingly similar and have overarching calls to action regarding how a just life is lived, certain fundamental aspects of their reasoning tend to oppose one another. In Sophocles’ play, Antigone, Antigone decides she would rather die than do nothing and let her brother, Polynices, go without mourning, as she believes it to be an “unshakable tradition” requested by the gods (Sophocles 82/505). Counter to Antigone’s belief, Creon claims that as a traitor to his city, the gods, who he believes are gods loyal to the city, would oppose Polynices receiving a proper burial and traditional mourning (Sophocles73/326). Within these differing views lies the existential element of religion; not to say however, that religion is each character’s only motivation for their preferred interment of Polynices. More overt factors influencing these opposing motives include Creon’s ego, and Antigone’s kinship and love for Polynices. Sophocles appears to favor the view of Antigone as Creon loses his family and ultimately is viewed as the wrongdoer in the story; this is especially true from a modern day perspective. Through this ending it can be concluded that Sophocles’ beliefs in living a just life follow closely the beliefs of Antigone. Short 803781208 1
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In comparison, Socrates, in the Gorgias dialogue, argues for what he believes is a just life and similarly to Antigone is willing to die for this belief. Socrates argues for the preservation of the soul, contrasting with Callicles belief in self-preservation through security for the physical life. Similar to Sophocles alignment with the views of Antigone, it is no lengthy stretch to suppose Plato follows and sides with the thoughts of Socrates in the Gorgias dialogues. While there are similarities between Antigone and Socrates in terms of their beliefs, there are several key differences that I argue are extreme enough to show that Sophocles and Plato would disagree on the definition of a just life. Where as Sophocles’ ideas have roots with religion and a higher power, Plato’s conclusion comes from philosophy and reason. In addition, Socrates argues that a man who is punished for a wrongdoing is brought closer to justice as opposed to a man who escapes retribution, a claim that I believe Sophocles, stemming from Antigone, would not definitively make. Finally, Antigone finds herself removed from life by her own hand, an action almost
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This note was uploaded on 11/10/2011 for the course POLI SCI 10 taught by Professor Sissa during the Fall '11 term at UCLA.

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Michael Short Poli Sci 10 Paper #1 - Michael Short...

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