Christina Hendricks gives the historical political context in which Plato wrote this text, talks about the Socratic elenchus and how it is exemplified in Book I, and discusses the parallel structure of the kallipolis and the soul.
- In what ways could we distinguish a Homeric hero from a Platonic philosopher-king, and how do these distinctions reflect the values and/or worldviews expressed in The Odyssey and the Republic?
- Plato has Socrates argue that imitative poets should be banished from the ideal state. How, then, can we account for Plato’s own extensive use of images, symbols, allegories, and other poetic devices in the Republic?
- Compare the role of the body and/or emotions in Plato’s Republic and Atwood’s Penelopiad.
- Plato condemns the political model of Thrasymachus on the grounds that its rulers educate and govern by coercive force for personal advantage. What, if anything, prevents us from drawing the same conclusion about Plato?
- Examine the relationship between the dialogue form and the content of the argument in Plato’s Republic.
- How does Plato’s emphasis on the distinction between appearance and reality bear on the relationship of knowledge to power?
- Compare Plato’s apparent unwillingness to speak directly of the form of the Good to Kierkegaard’s inability to speak of the nature of faith.
- Examine Plato’s treatment of sight, both metaphorical and physical, and the role it plays in his larger argument in the Republic.
- Why does Plato end the Republic with the Myth of Er? What problems, if any, might arise from doing so?