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Tragedy, Women And The Family In Plato's Republic

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that Plato's attack on poetry, and particularly on tragedy, in the Republic is related to his exclusion of the feminine. The only significant difference between men and women is that the female bears children, whereas the male begets them. Plato's proposals are radical by any standards, but particularly when viewed against the background of the social practices of fourth-century Athens. The association of lamentation with the feminine is grounded in the reality of women's traditional role as mourners in the funeral ritual. But Plato's characterization of typically female behavior also reflects standard Athenian ideology concerning the emotional nature of women.

Keywords: Plato; Women



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