In short, Plato’s “Republic” discusses the idea of a utopian society. As discussed in class, a utopian society is a “good place” but in “no place”. This excerpt goes on to describe all the elements that would create a utopia. In this world, the overarching idea revolves around the idea of equality.
With this concept of equality, Plato believes that men and women can have both strengths and weaknesses in various fields. For the most part it seems as though he is defending the idea of gender equality since he goes on about equality among genders when it comes to power, education, etc. However, when the ideas of “matrimony” and “guardians” are brought up, these beliefs become a little shaky.
In this utopian society, marriage is just seen as an act between a man and a woman that is used to regulate the population, “preventing the state from becoming either too large or too small”. So, in this society, are women just seen as objects used to bear children to the State’s population? In addition, it is stated that “fathers should have as many sons as possible”, as if males are the superior race. This sense of superiority is also seen when males are constantly being referred to as “guardians” and women as “the wives of our guardians” throughout the text. The phrase “wives of our guardians” refers to women as though they are only seen as a man’s accessory, not as their own person that can stand on their own and be their own “guardian”. Although the author is trying to prove the fact that equality among genders is best for a society, there is still an underlying sense of male dominance. These thoughts very much contradict the idea that men and women are totally equal in this utopian society.