Socrates Speech Analysis

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In his recount of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides presents the speech of the Spartan King Archidamus at the Sparta War Council as the Spartans deliberate on whether they should wage war against Athens. In his speech, Archidamus argues that self-control represents the true form of courage because the exercise of self-control is able to endow its possessor with other Spartan ideals such as good judgment, a sense of shame, and moderation. Through tying his conception of courage with other highly esteemed traditional Spartan ideals, Archidamus espouses a vision of the ideal Spartan citizen that shares many similarities with the kind of citizens that Socrates hopes to create for his imaginary city Callipolis. In fact, one can reasonably…show more content…
In the discussion of his education system, Socrates makes a point to mention that despite his strong belief that the guardians “must be kept away from all other crafts so as to be the craftsmen of the city’s freedom, and… neither do nor imitate anything else. If they do imitate, they must imitate from childhood what is appropriate for them, namely, people who are courageous, self-controlled, pious, and free, and their actions” (Rep. 3.395c-d). Moreover, Socrates also makes it very clear that with regards to the poems and stories that will serve as the basis of the guardians’ education, it is necessary to “…supervise the storytellers…select[ing] their stories whenever they are fine or beautiful and reject[ing] them when they aren’t” (Rep 2.377c). Taken together, the two aforementioned quotations tell us that not only did Socrates’ education system share the ideals of courage, moderation, and a proper sense of shame with Archidamus’ vision of the ideal Spartan, Socrates himself also found these virtues so important that he was willing to: 1) break his own law of specialization of tasks in order to instill them in his future guardians, and 2) use state-sponsored censorship as a tool in order to make sure that those particular virtues are properly and firmly entrenched…show more content…
In Book 3 of the Republic, Socrates says to Glaucon that the young warrior citizens of Callipolis must “have carful education [in both music and poetry as well as physical training] from childhood throughout life” (Rep. 3.403d). In addition, as the founders of Callipolis, Socrates suggests that he, Glaucon, and Adeimantus must ensure that the future guardians are properly educated so that they can obtain “the sort of fine and good character that has developed in accordance with an intelligent plan” (Rep. 3.400e). The two aforementioned quotations seem to indicate that the true purpose of Socrates’ proposed education system for his future guardians is not to educate human beings so that they can lead fruitful and productive lives, but to breed philosophical dogs that have been trained to obey without questioning the established order. Moreover, the quotations also suggest that in order to instill the virtues of courage, moderation, and a proper sense of shame into the citizens under its tutelage, the system will go as far as deceiving them into adopting a world view that leaves them ignorant of the “true” reality that exists outside of the laws that they live by. Hence, the Socratic education system, through embodying the virtues of
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