Plato’s Notions of Sophist and Statesman Applied to the Analysis of the Shakespeare’s Tragedy Julius Caesar term paper
Using the analogy with the angler, the participants of the dialogue try to define the art of Sophist and come to the conclusion that the art of Sophist is quite complicated. “The sophist earns wages from those he hunts. He has a product to sell. Returning to acquisitive art, the Stranger this time ignores the branch that leads to hunting, and instead follows the other branch, beginning from the art of acquisition by exchange, and defines the sophist as someone engaged in commerce, who sells products for the soul” (Plato, 224). The actions of the sophist may not be described as physical activity. In contrast to other arts it is hard to make the conclusion about the actions of the sophist by only observing things he does. The situation is complicated by the fact that sophistry, in contrast to angling, has different meaning for different people. Different people may understand different things under sophistry and that is why the actions of sophist may be estimated differently by different people. This is explained by the fact that sophist may have different spheres of action and different people may center on separate spheres and this may results in differences while defining sophist. As states the Stranger: “Do you know that, when someone appears to know many things, and is called by the name of one art, this appearance (phantasma) is not sound, but it is clear that the person experiencing it in relation to some art is unable to see that [feature] of it toward which all these sorts of learning look, and so he addresses the person having them by many names rather than one?” (Plato, 232) Finally the characters come to the conclusion that despite it is hard to give the definition of Sophist he still may be regarded as an expert in disputation in different fields of human knowledge. In contrast to Sophist, who possesses the knowledge of dispute, Statesman has political power. Plato insists that Statesman possess the knowledge about how to rule the country in order to be the ruler. Plato underlines that politicians should possess knowledge about how to run the country and only this way they will become true Statesmen.
The characters of famous play by William Shakespeare may also be characterized using the logic of Plato. The terms of Statesmen and Sophist may be used to characterize his characters Cassius, Julius Caesar and Marcus Brutus. Julius Caesar is an outstanding leader ofRome. He is described like strong political leader. He definitely possesses the qualities of the Statesmen. He has the ability to run the people. He may become the King and Plato mentions the characteristics of the king when describing Statesmen in his dialogue. People admire Julius Caesar for his outstanding political abilities and authority. His outstanding abilities became the subject of concern for the Rome Senate. Some senators became worried that Caesar might change the Republic rule to Empire governed by himself. This fear made the senators to organize the conspiracy and kill Caesar. Cassius, another character of the play is one of the main conspirators against Julius Caesar. Cassius is directed by his own profit. He does not think about the needs of the country and minds only his own interests. Cassius gathers people against Caesar and takes leading role in his assassination. Cassius is a good manipulator. He lies people in order to reach his personal goals. Cassius presents the type of Sophist who uses his wonderful orator skills and wisdom to manipulate people. On his example we may see how sophism may become a dangerous weapon for those who pursue their own goals and to now care about the common good. Cassius manipulates Brutus and appeals to his sense of civic duty to make him participate in the conspiracy. Cassius appeals to higher ideals and makes other people to join his ambitious plans. He does not think about the needs of others and presents the type of Sophist who manipulates truth for his own profit. Marcus Brutus is a complex character. He is guided by the sense of duty and wants to save the state from the possible tyranny of his good friend – Julius Caesar. In contrast to Cassius and some other conspirators, Brutus does not think about his own profit. He only wants to bring the use to his state. Brutus presents the type of the Statesmen who cares about the common good. Moreover, Brutus sacrifices his good friend, Julius Caesar, for the sake of common good. This choice becomes the hard decision for Brutus but he sacrifices his own interests and preferences for the sake of other people. Brutus becomes the object of manipulation. Cassius uses his good oratory skills to persuade Brutus to join the conspiracy. The results of Brutus’s actions are still doubtful, but his motifs vividly illustrate his strong social position.
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