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Pericles’ Funeral Oration and His Ideals for the States, Essay Example

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Pericles was a prominent Greek general, orator and statesman during the Golden Age of Athens. Pericles had a profound affect on Greek society. Pericles was a great orator, and one of his most famous speeches came during the History of the Peloponnesian War. The speech, titled Pericles’ Funeral Oration, addressed his components of an ideal Athens- a democratic alternative to the totalitarian political philosophy that had been a stronghold for Greece for decades. Pericles’ view of society greatly contrasts that of Plato’s view for the society of Athens. Pericles’ desires freedom in a democratic city-state style Athens. This greatly contrasts Plato’s view for Greece as is written in The Republic. In Pericles’ city-state, activity within the community is imperative, military practice is used to foster community strength and things like pleasure and joy are of high value.

I do not think these ideals are just aspirations- I do think Pericles’ dream of an ideal city-state is an achievable reality. Is it an ideal society? Maybe. Is it an impossible society? No. I do not think Pericles’ developed a “perfect” society in his head, just an “ideal” society- and I think that difference is crucial to what makes Pericles’ society an actual possibility rather than just something society can strive to be but never attain. If a society, a community, as well as it’s government, can all learn to work together and to focus on the good of the many rather than the good of the few, I think that an ideal society can be achieved. It is only a matter of setting aside one’s own ego.

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