Discuss the place of women in Athenian society and the response to that in Plato’s Republic and Meno

  • The paper needs to be 5 pages, double spaced, 12-point, Times New Roman, and MLA Format.
  • This is not a research paper. The paper is to be a discussion of the philosophical topic related to the ideas of Socrates and Plato. You will want to keep your reading of external interpretations down to proportions that match their general usefulness, which varies quite a bit. Try to only use the sources provided. If you must use an additional source, please check with me first.
  • All references to the works of Plato should be by Stephanus page number and the page number in the translations that are provided in this document via links. Stephanus page numbers are the system of reference and organization used in modern editions and translations of Plato. Plato’s works are divided into numbers, and each number will be divided into equal sections a, b, c, d and e. As such, this system is often used to reference Plato – for example, Symposium 172a would refer the reader to the opening of Plato’s Symposium.


Discuss the place of women in Athenian society and the response to that in Plato’s Republic and Meno (the latter for confirmation of the views in the Republic). The discussion of education and the role of women in the ideal state envisioned in the Republic begins in Books III and V. Allan Bloom’s translation of the Republic is provided. Please utilize that version of the Republic. Note the Index in the back of the book for all other discussions of the various roles for women and men in the Republic.

There is an interesting modern investigation of Greek mythology and its presentation of women here:  Uxoricide in Pregnancy: Ancient Greek Domestic Violence in Evolutionary Perspective,” by Dr. Susan Deacy and Dr. Fiona McHardy. It can be found at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/147470491301100505. This was published in 2013. If you search on Zeus in the text you will see some of his exploits and some discussion of the consequences. It is quite telling that Meno in the Meno thinks that one part of virtue for women is to obey their husbands One might wonder how conscious Plato was of the dreadful way in which many women seen to have been treated in ancient Athens. The Republic is quite clear that humans are defined as beings with souls, that their souls are fundamentally equal, and that women and men have souls.  Therefore, women should receive precisely the same education as men all the way up to the type of education appropriate for a philosopher-king.  The one relative difference between men and women, the apparent greater physical strength of men, he judges to be insignificant even in terms of fitness for work of the warrior class.

See an excellent review by Luc Brisson of Plato’s ideas at: http://journals.openedition.org/etudesplatoniciennes/277 (The essay has been translated into English at this link). Brisson also reviews Plato’s very controversial idea that marriage is not part of a justly organized state and that children should be raised in common. 

Meno: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0178%3Atext%3DMeno%3Asection%3D70a

The Republic: https://ia801905.us.archive.org/23/items/PlatosRepublictrans.BloomText/PlatosRepublictrans.Bloom_text.pdf

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