Thursday, February 5, 2009

BC: The Frogs to Plato's The Republic

405 BC. The Frogs Aristophanes. Greek. Play. Dionysus decides to go to Hades to bring back Euripides; dons lion’s garb of Heracles only to learn that Heracles is not popular there, so he changes costume; debate between Euripides and Sophocles. Dionysus decides to bring back Sophocles instead. He is a weightier playwright. This play is an example of the freedom of speech allowed to Athens. Dionysus is made an absurd figure.

405 BC. Iphigenia in Aulis. Euripides. Greek. Play. Seer Calchas predicts that only the sacrifice of Iphigenia will save Greeks from being trapped in the harbor of Aulis. She is sacrificed. But, was a deer substituted?

401 BC. Oedipus at Colonus. Sophocles. Greek. Play. Banished and shunned by sons Etiocles and Polynices. Oedipus wanders as outcast. Daughter Antigone leads him to grove at Colonus. Creon tries to force him to return to Thebes. Theseus of Athens defends him. Buried outside Athens where he has promised to protect the city at the time of war.

372 BC. The Mencius. Chinese. Philosophy. Unsystematic collection of sayings and dialogues. Model of classical Chinese prose. Lived in time of great social change and constant warfare. Goodness of man and necessity of virtuous, benevolent king to bring order to the world.

347 BC? The Republic. Plato. Greek. Dialogue. Attempt at definition of justice. Justice must exist in the state before the individual. Three classes of citizens: Guardians, soldiers, workers and producers. Rejects democracy and tyranny. Temperance, restraint required of all classes.

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