Meno Virtue Analysis

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Plato’s extensively insightful work, titled Meno, delves into the topic of virtue and attempts to define what is undefinable (Plato 45). Virtue is the context of this essay is referencing is aretê, or virtue in general (Plato 47). Throughout this essay, the writer will compare and contrast the main characters, Socrates and Meno, based on how they are presented throughout Meno and their opinion on virtue. To begin with, the character Meno can be described as an arrogant, simple-minded, and throughout a majority of the dialogue, inconsistent with his own views on virtue. He believes he was lucky enough to be born with virtue, but when asked to define it, he simply lists the traits of virtue, rather than giving a singular definition. For example, his first response is that virtue is dependent upon a person’s age and gender (Plato 3). However, Socrates refutes this by explaining that people could have conflicting virtues and who is to say which virtue is more appropriate than the other (Plato 3). In Meno’s second attempt, he states that the ruling over other men was virtue (Plato 5). Socrates objects by reminding him that virtue must be available to all humans, no matter their social status (Plato 5). Meno tries again, listing off nouns such as “wisdom, magnificence, and courage”, but this still does not please…show more content…
On that note, Socrates believes that virtue is a general form (eidos), meaning that there is a pattern (Plato 50). Although the two characters are both from esteemed backgrounds, unlike Meno, Socrates claims to know nothing and therefore is aware of his own ignorance. However, Socrates does know that virtue is like a recollection (anamnesis) of knowledge (Plato 49). In other words, virtue cannot come from instructions (as we learned that there are no teachers of virtue), but from an innate understanding of the soul (Plato
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