Plato's Republic 'on Common Families'

Term Paper of M.A. English

Common Families of the Commonwealth

Term Paper
Delhi University

Common Families of the Commonwealth

Plato’s arguments of the creation of a commonwealth, where guardians have their wives and children in common, where no parent knows his child and no child his parent, was to liberate the citizens’ from the bondages (evils) and obligations of family life, so that they serve better in their respective fields and the State works as a large family unit where there are no mean wars on lands and properties and men and women are considerate towards each other feeling united as members of a natural polity.

The idea which marginalises individual families by removing their existence altogether and puts greater emphasis on the larger family, which is the state as a whole, furnishes patriotism and brotherhood. The idea, however hypothetical, surely came from the noblest intentions for the creation of the ideal commonwealth. But the question is can the licentiousness rising from polygamy and ignorance of one’s own family members be digested so easily in the name of such noble intentions. Such a plan degrades true commitment and demeans love and I see serious dangers of anarchy in personal relationships. While Plato may have thought that a hero who has distinguished himself as a warrior should be honoured by letting him go on an ‘expedition’ of kisses and have as many wives as he desires, so that his highly valued valour may be preserved by multiplication of his genes with his chosen fortunate meritorious maidens, it might not be the case of an equivalent desire in a female to have sex with a possessor of multiple wives, however talented, however adroit, regardless of him being a gem to the state whose genes must be transferred through her fated embryo. Making love and making children become two different dispositions then.   While Plato’s utilitarian thinking of letting women participate in state’s jobs is progressive, the other...