Academic Master


Plato’s King

Plato, an Athenian-Greek philosopher, is one of the most studied philosophers in the world. He created the first academy for higher studies in the western world. Many of his great works came after the establishment of his academy which includes but are not limited to “The Republic” and “The Symposium”. When Plato was young, he thought of joining Athenian politics, however; he realized that his ideas were more philosophical than political. Therefore he studied philosophy under the guidance of Socrates. He still had an interest in politics and over time he developed an idea that “political justice and human happiness require kings to become philosophers or philosophers to become kings”. He tried to apply this idea in Syracuse when he met Dionysius I but he failed.

Plato attempted to awaken the philosopher in the king many times after that but he was not able to persuade him. The king had kept his son uneducated in fear that if his son became literate; he would turn on his father and kill him to take the throne. However; after the king died, Dionysius II took the throne; he wrote to Plato to come to Syracuse but Plato was not keen to experience the same treatment that he did when Dionysius I was alive. However; Dion, Plato’s friend and Dionysius II’s uncle persuaded him to come as he had high hopes for his nephew. Plato took the young king under his wing and the king showed improvement, however; he failed to become a philosopher-king. Plato described this failure as the young king’s reluctance to come out of the cave and into the light; when Plato himself descended into the darkness of the cave to help the king. The young king’s shortcomings included that he was illiterate, lived a life of indulgence and did not have proper guidance his whole life. These shortcomings prevented him from becoming the king that Plato had envisioned him as (Romeo, 2020).



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