It is all too tempting to read the Republic as an antiquated piece of fiction. I hope that students are realizing that the basic issues and challenges that all societies face do not change through time and across space; the only things that change are the unique ways particular societies confront them.

The struggle to live the ethical life is a struggle relevant for all times and places; this assignment is designed to get students to see how that struggle is manifesting in contemporary culture.

Students are to write a short essay relating central concepts from Plato’s Republic to contemporary culture. Essays should first present Plato’s perspective on the issue using adequate textual support. Once this is accomplished, students must relate and compare his views to those of contemporary culture. Ultimately, if contemporary culture diverges from the views offered in the Republic students should say which is preferable and why.

If a student intends to show that Socrates’ views are inadequate or deficient in some manner, the student must first demonstrate that he or she fully comprehends those views by proving that he or she knows why Socrates says what he says in the context of the book. Papers that are all response without first proving you understand what you are responding to will earn minimal credit.


Papers must be at minimum 3 full typed double spaced pages in 12 Times New Roman font.The quickest way to lose points is to turn in 2 ¾ pages.

Students must incorporate textual support from the Republic into the body paragraphs in the form of direct quotations and cite them properly (MLA).

Students must find adequate examples from contemporary culture that relate to the ideas discussed in the book. (American or International examples are both welcome.)

In addition to the 3 pages, students must submit a separate works-cited page citing all sources (MLA).

This is a formal paper, so I strongly suggest that you avoid personal pronouns and have at least one person edit your paper for grammar, spelling, and clarity.

Make sure to MLA format these quotations and indent long quotes accordingly.

There are a lot of paper topics possible. Here are a few: 1.) the role of education then vs now; 2.) the role of religion then vs. now; 3.) the myth of metals and whether or not contemporary religions adhere to its core principle; 4.) the strengths and weaknesses of democracy then vs. now; 5.) censorship then vs. now; 6.) the role of women and their right to education then vs. now (in any given part of the world, would need to be specific).

Feel free to take any of these topics or come up with one of your own.

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