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Plato And The Nuclear Family In His Work:The Republic

1234 words - 5 pages

The nuclear family, consisting of a mother, father, and children, is something very familiar to our society. We hold these relations as ideal and form our lives around their bonds. In the Republic, Plato suggests to abolish families and replace them with the Guardians. This is easily one of Plato’s most controversial ideas; it contains positive elements, but is seen as impractical to undesirable by many. The rationale behind Plato’s idea consists of many different parts, which are focused on a main goal of unity. The belief is that if a society rids itself of these families, they will favor unity and strive towards the enrichment of society as a whole. Although this may have its positive impacts on society, I personally believe that it goes against the nature of humans.
It is Plato’s opining that living without nuclear families would allow the whole society to work together as one entity; in this idea the whole community is seen as a family. The overall goal of this idea is to promote unanimity and decrease opposition. He states that it is best for a society to share their experiences and use these experiences to come together. In this society, there will not be favoritism towards ones relatives and what is just will be seen as most important. Since the guardian class will have wives and children in common, then they will also have mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters in common. Plato makes this clear when he states that, “All the citizens rejoice and are pained by the same success and failures, doesn’t this sharing of pleasures and pains bind the city together.”( Republic, bk. 5, 462). The successes of others will be seen as their own, since everyone is, in a sense, related. “Our citizens, then, are devoted to a common interest which they call their own, and in consequence entirely share each other's feelings of joy and sorrow” (Republic, bk. 5, 464). He believes that the most evil things come from the breaking of this societal unity. “And isn’t that what happens whenever such words as “mine” and “not mine” aren’t used in unison? Then, is the best-governed city the one in which most people say “mine” and “not mine” about the same things in the same way? (Republic, bk. 5, 462). This means, that if people begin to take claim of “things”, it causes disunion. If one person is to claim things as theirs or not theirs, then all the community refers to the same things in this same way. This idea is concluded when he states that the sharing of wives and children will allow to society to work as a whole unit which will result in a more satisfying life for its inhabitants.
This then leads into the idea of who is best to breed the offspring for this ideal state. These men and women would be looked at for their desired/desirable traits, which seem to be an early appearance of eugenics. In Republic, once the child is born they are taken away and brought a place that is similar to a nursery school, where nurses to ensure...

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