The Ideal Beauty Essay

1792 words - 8 pages

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, is a very famous quote by Margaret Wolfe Hungerford. Martin, Gary. ("Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder." Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder. The Phrase Finder, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2014) This quote means that many different people see beauty in their own way. Beauty can be found in many different forms such as personal appearance, nature, personality, art and architecture. Modern societal values and those of the ancient Greeks hold both similar and different ideals of beauty. Today we value beauty most often as hair, body shape, money, and face. Ancient Greeks valued beauty as a sum of parts formed into a coherent whole with symmetry, harmony,and ...view middle of the document...

He was a major philosopher from the western civilization in ancient Greece. He was born 470 B.C and died 399 B.C.E. Socrates was a gifted and talented teacher and philosopher. He taught Plato and Aristotle. Back in this time period, religion was the most important part of their lives. (Fox,161) In Socrates time beauty was measured by god, sculptures, good looks, and goodness. However, during this time, Socrates did not live his daily life in pursuit of “beauty”, in fact he ran round barefoot, unbathed, with long greasy hair, eyes that would pop out of his head, and large lips. (Hughes,5) Back then Socrates personal appearance and behavior certainly wouldn’t have been under the category of “beauty” as viewed from the perspective of the people of ancient Greece. Socrates is known for his dialogs written by Plato.
Socrates’ philosophy of beauty was that if something had purity within its self then it will reflect a form of beauty which will provide a sense of pleasure and joy. He thought that things didn’t have to look extravagant or gorgeous to be defined as beautiful. His thoughts on beauty were that inner beauty was much more important than outer appearances. Part of Socrates philosophy was that true self is not the body but the soul. This means that beauty doesn’t come from your appearance but it comes straight from the soul where it really matters and shows. Socrates was trying to teach people that inner beauty was the only thing that mattered and that the character that people showed was their true beauty. This emphasis on “inner beauty” allowed all people to strive for beauty and not be limited by their physical attributes.
Another major philosopher on beauty during this time period was Plato who was also from ancient Greece. He believes that beauty was shown through poems, literature , art and pictures. His goal was to define beauty as a whole. He was taught by Socrates about beauty and life itself. Plato’s ideal definition of beauty involved concepts that beauty is eternal, divine, gods, and goodness. "Beauty." - New World Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2014. Plato and Socrates share similar views on beauty in that both believed that it comes from the soul and not the body; however Plato is a big believer that beauty is immutable.
Aristotle is another ancient Greek philosopher who was also trying to investigate the true meaning of beauty. He used a different approach then either Plato or Socrates. He used a more scientific way to define beauty by analyzing art itself. He thought that order, symmetry and definiteness was a great form of beauty. (Landrum, Amy. "Web Developer." Aristotle’s Definition of Beauty. Mountain State University) Aristotle said “a concept of beauty occurs when all parts work together in harmony so that no one part draws unjust attention to itself”. (Landrum, Amy. "Web Developer." Aristotle’s Definition of Beauty. Mountain State University) Aristotle’s definition means that not just one part of...

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