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Short Paper 1 Socrates’ And Aristotle’s Views Of Virtue (Essay Sample)


Instructions: Respond as directly as possible to the prompt below in no more than 1000 words (including footnotes). This assignment will be reviewed by a peer using the rubric below. Revised papers will be graded using the same rubric. No outside sources are allowed.

Prompt: In Sophocles’ Antigone, Creon sentences his niece, Antigone, to death for performing burial rites on her brother’s body despite her full knowledge of Creon’s decree prohibiting such action. Evaluate Creon’s actions from the perspectives of both Socrates’ and Aristotle’s views of virtue. Would Socrates and Aristotle agree or disagree in their judgment of whether Creon’s actions are virtuous and, either way, why? [1000 word max]

Formatting Recommendations: 12-point font in Times New Roman, double spaced, 1-inch margins, no bibliography/works cited (however, in-text citations for quotes and paraphrasing are required)


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Professor’s Name
Socrates’ and Aristotle’s Views of Virtue
Virtue refers to a positive trait that tends to make its processor to become a good person. Virtue normally represents the most significant qualities of an individual to own. Reading through Sophocle's Antigone, the play raises a lot of questions in regard to what is considered right and wrong. The play raises a debate on the matters of law and what one believes in their judgement is the right thing to do. The main actors in the play Creon and Antigone portray the contradicting views on the two aspects. Creon subscribes to the law and strictly believes it should be protected irrespective of the circumstances whereas Antigone believes in doing what is right irrespective of what the law says. Socrates and Aristotle are ancient philosophers who used to teach the notion of virtue. These philosophers were believers of virtues. However, their comprehension of the meaning to become virtuous were not similar. Due to this dissimilarity, Socrates and Aristotle teaching on virtue had a clear contradiction just like the differences brought out in the play through the actions of the two characters.
The play presents Creon as a leader who does what is considered to be rational and right by the state. However, some of the actions he feels that are virtuous led to the destruction of the state. Creon decreed that the corpse of Polyneices should not be buried following his death CITATION Ari00 \l 1033 (Aristotle). He gave this order believing that he is disgracing and punishing Polyneices. Nevertheless, Antigone goes against Creon’s command that attracts her death penalty. Ismene, Antigone's sister, tries to argue with Creon on the morality of his decree and the morality of Antigone's actions. Despite intervention by Ismene and Haemon to spare Antigone’s life, Creon decides to continue with the punishment on Antigone. However, Tiresias, a prophet, saves the situation and through his intervention together with that of the chorus, Antigone’s life is spared and allows her to bury his brother. The suffering and disgrace Antigone experienced pushed her to commit suicide by hanging. The death of Antigone made Haemon, Creon’s son, furious with his father that he tried to stab him but ended up stabbing himself to death CITATION Sop00 \l 1033 (Sophocles). Following these events, Creon regrets his actions and blames himself. In as much as the orders, he values very much remains protected and him still the king, his actions are against the will of the gods and that made him lose his wife and children CITATION Ari00 \l 1033 (Aristotle).
Aristotle and Socrates believed in the existence of virtue, but the difference arises on their understanding of virtue. The actions of Socrates and Aristotle after being charged with impiety and sentenced to death brought out the understanding of virtue. On his side, Socrates agreed to face death with the aim of practicing what he preached. The actions of Socrates lived up to the fact that he fostered for the true sense of commona

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