The Ring of Gyges and the Myth of Er

Topics: Plato, Gyges of Lydia, The Republic Pages: 2 (716 words) Published: November 3, 2008
The Ring of Gyges and The Myth of Er are two stories that can be found in the book, “Plato Republic.” These specific stories can be compared and contrasted deeply regarding the topic of wisdom. While theses legends possess very similar morals their History and information vary tremendously. The Ring of Gyges can be found in book two (359a- 360d) and tells the story of Gyges of Lydia who was a shepherd in service of the King, Candaules. Shortly after an earthquake occurred a cave surfaced and upon entering it Gyges discovered a tomb that contained a corpse slightly larger than a man. The corpse wore a golden ring which Gyges stole and pocketed as his own. Thereafter Gyges became aware to the fact that the ring he had acquired granted him invisibility when he rotated the settings. With his invisibility Gyges beguiled the king’s wife, killed the ruler and then took over the kingdom. Immediately after reading this we can acknowledge that when there are no consequences in place people forget what is wise and just. Socrates even goes as far to say that if we supposed there were two rings, one worn by a just and the other by an unjust person not one person would stay on the path of justice, “…when he could take whatever he wanted from the marketplace with impunity, go into people’s houses and have sex with anyone he wished, and do all the other things that would make him like a god among humans.” (Reeve 36) The Myth of Er is another story that describes a man who died in war. The myth can be found in the closing of “Plato’s Republic.” (614a- 621d) In this closing section Er dies in war but revives twelve days later and tells everyone what he saw in the afterlife. In his recollection there is a heaven, a hell and based upon whether or not a person lives justly or not decides where they will go in their afterlife. Er also gives account of reincarnation and the celestial spheres of the astral plane. This Greek tale provides us with the idea that moral people are rewarded...

Cited: (1) Reeve, C.D.C.. Plato 's Republic. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing , 1992
(2)Webster, Merrian Webster 's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. 9th. 1983.
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