Plato’s Utopian Athens

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Being a woman in Ancient Greece, and especially in Athens, was very challenging. Women were categorized based on their gender, as they were considered to be lower in rank than domestic slaves. They would spend their day in the house, baring and raising the children, and taking care of the household. Women were simply possessions to men as marriage was a mere successful deal that came with dowry.  Even though Athens was a city that was known for Democracy, women were banned from engaging in any issues involving the city. In addition to that, girls did not receive any form of education, as in music and gym, which was what education for Greeks consisted of. The first signs of change came with Plato, since he introduced some ideas that were rather progressive for his time. Although, one might consider Plato as a misogynist, due to fact that he had ulterior motives in supporting women and not simply because he was fighting for them. His goal was to provide a political answer that preoccupied the Athenians as the Golden Age was slowly glooming.

In Plato’s Republic is presented an ideal version of how he imagined what the world should be like. In this utopian version of utopian Athens, women were able to be active citizens in their community. This would mean that women would have equal opportunities in education and even guardianship. This resulted from Plato’s support of the opinion that women should not be discriminated because of their gender but because of their abilities. That would mean that they would have equal treatment against the law. As a result, gifted women would be able to participate in what would be considered as male dominated occupations, and as they would engage in relationships with equally talented men that made talented children. The disadvantage of this though would be that women will have difficulties in having a family since for Athenians, being a model citizen required devotion of time and loyalty.

In conclusion, it is evident that Plato’s Republic would have plenty of difficulties in surviving as a society. Even though the ideas presented break through every stereotype then known, people were not open to these extreme changes. Also, Plato’s motive is doubtful since his intentions to why he is that supportive of women are not clear. Though one can admit that his support of women was outstanding.

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5 thoughts on “Plato’s Utopian Athens

  1. I agree it’s critical to keep in mind the lifestyle of Ancient Greece when reading this excerpt. I believe, although Plato certainly has some misogynistic sentiments, he had a much more progressive attitude towards women than other men in that society. His ideas for this utopia were most likely never thought of prior to this.

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  2. I agree with you in thinking that Plato is indecisive and unclear of this idea. He does show support of equality between men and women and then somehow takes back his support of equality between the gender. Being that gender equality was a touchy subject back then I could understand where his indecisiveness is coming from.

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  3. I completely agree with you in the fact that Plato had revolutionary ideas for the time while also still having questionable motives. Although he did advocate for equality of the sexes, he also mentioned his belief that women are still weaker than men. His utopian society certainly is less than perfect, despite the fact that his respect for women vastly exceeded the attitudes of those before him.

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  4. Firstly, I’d like to say that I love your usage of a picture in this post. I agree with your argument and I find your concluding point to be very interesting. You critically questioned the motive behind Plato’s thoughts and whether his intentions were biased. You definitely made me see Plato’s Republic from a new perspective.

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  5. It is interesting that Plato’s Republic was so supportive of gender equality coming from that time period. It is interesting to think of the alterior motives that could have inspired the creation of Plato’s Republic and if even through his support in his writing, he was truly taking a stand for women on the issue

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