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The Republic

The Republic

Research papers on Plato's Republic are standard for many Philosophy courses at the Undergraduate level. The writers at Paper Masters will custom write research on any aspect of The Republic that you need explained. Get an excellent guide to understanding Plato's most infamous work from the writers at Paper Masters.

At the very beginning of Plato's Republic we find Socrates and his companions in the home of Cephalus, who is something of a wealthy retiree. Socrates engages him in conversation about the benefits of old age and, naturally, what is required to live a good and just life. They discuss the relative merits of having inherited one's fortune and having acquired it, but the main point of their conversation comes to the fore when Socrates asks Cephalus what the greatest benefit of his wealth has been. Cephalus answers in an interesting way. He does not mention the comforts and freedom from worry that most of us associate with great wealth, but instead points to the satisfaction afforded him by being able to pay all his debts. In his old age, if it were not for his wealth, he might not be able to meet his obligations. Cephalus comes to identify meeting obligations as being the basis of living a just and good life. Therefore, in this view, in order to live a just and good life one must be wealthy, or at least so well off as not to have to worry about meeting one's commitments.

  1. Content: Your thesis should appear in the first paragraph-it should probably be the last sentence. It should be interesting, provocative, and warrant a six page discussion. It should contain an idea that is your own, and of which you will try to persuade your audience.
  2. Examples:
    • weak: Plato dislikes the arts and wants to banish the poets from his republic.
    • strong: Plato's opinion of art is based on its relation to knowledge; it is for this reason he rejects Homer's poetry while simultaneously approving of another kind: his own.
  3. Topic sentences are also an essential part of organizing your thoughts and your paper. A topic sentence should relate directly to your thesis, and should also let the reader know what the upcoming paragraph is going to discuss or prove. Everything that you write in the paragraph should support the claim made in the topic sentence.
    • weak: In book X Plato banishes the poets.
    • strong: Book X, in which the poets are accused of being liars and are banished, provides the clearest example of Plato evaluating art based on its relation to knowledge.
  4. A good way to maintain focus in a paragraph is to repeat certain key words that your topic sentence has introduced. What would they be in this example?
  5. Additionally, make sure that all sentences within every paragraph flow smoothly and logically from one to the next. Often connections can be shown or strengthened by using any of the following: accordingly, as a result, because, consequently, for this reason, if, otherwise, since, so, then, therefore, thus. Other connecting words that show some coherence between ideas are: however, nevertheless, furthermore, moreover, on the contrary, on the other hand, besides, equally important, specifically, likewise, similarly.
  6. Quotations: You are expected to use textual evidence to support your claims. All citations should give specific manuscript numbers and letters, not book or page numbers. "Polemarchus saw us from a distance " (327b). Note the punctuation used here-the period comes after the citation. If your quote spans multiple manuscript sections, list them all: (327b-e), or (327a-328c). Also, the length of a quotation should correspond to the length of your discussion of it: don't quote a passage of five lines unless you have a lot to say about it! If you do use a lengthy quote, format it thus:
    Adeimantus, however, raises a significant question regarding the role ofthe guardians:
  7. How would you defend yourself, Socrates if someone told you that you aren't making men very happy and that it's their own fault? The city belongs to them, yet they derive no good from it... One might say you guardians are simply settled in the city like mercenaries Make sure to introduce any quotes sufficiently so that the reader has an idea of what is under discussion BEFORE reading the quote.

Common Mechanical Errors:

  • An ellipsis indicates an omission in a quote, and is formed with three dots and a space.
  • Semicolons are used to connect two main clauses; they should be used carefully.
  • Keep consistent tenses. When describing the actions of a character in a book always use the present tense.
  • Give your paper a brief title, appearing at the top of the first page and centered. The first letters of all nouns, verbs, adjective, and adverbs should be capitalized.

Topics for a Research Paper on Plato's Republic:

  1. What is the role of Thrasymachus in the Republic? What challenge(s) does he issue? How does Socrates counter him, and is Socrates' response sufficient to show that justice is more advantageous than injustice?
  2. Discuss Plato's conception of democracy, particularly in comparison to his own ideal state. What are the significant differences and what are the similarities between the two? How strong are his arguments for democracy's deficiency?
  3. Why does Plato discuss education at such great length? What are some of the most important aspects of education for him, and what does this reveal about Plato's conception of human nature?
  4. Discuss Plato's theory of knowledge. How is knowledge different from opinion? What, in Plato's view, is the relationship between knowledge and justice? Be sure to reference the simile of the line and allegory of the cave.

Plato Republic Translated By G.M.A. Grube Revised By C.D.C. Reeve

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