Analysis of Pericles Speeches

Topics: Peloponnesian War, Sparta, Government Pages: 2 (651 words) Published: March 23, 2013
Although Thucydides provides a history of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides spends a lot of time emphasizing the government and the citizens of Athens. Thucydides also focuses on the greatness of Pericles and his honest and patriotic leadership. Does this concentration on a democracy and moderate leader reveal what Thucydides sees as a just government? Throughout the text, one can see clues that a democracy is the preferred government of Athens, and the focus on Athens as the greater, swifter and more innovative power; he contradicts them with the passive, slow and cautious Sparta. This text not only acts as a historical resource but also a source that provides an example for future governments on how to run a government successfully.

By looking at the speeches of Pericles, the view of Thucydides comes through. It seems that Thucydides believes in a democracy and giving the common man a voice in what happens in the city. Pericles emphasizes the greatness of a democracy in his funeral oration. Through his speech Pericles emphasizes that equality to create a free and law-abiding society. I think Pericles speaks of how there is no class consideration when considering man to be able to serve the state because he wants to stress that the most honorable man is the one that serves the state, especially in a time of war. Citizens that do not participate in the duties of public matters are deemed ‘useless.’ The funeral oration is not just an honoring of the patriotic men that died fighting for Athens but also a call to all the other sons, brothers and fellow citizens of the honorable fallen to live a life as honorable as them. A democracy is a form of government that gives all the ability to participate, and according to Pericles everyone has a responsibility to take part. Men must put aside their petty wants and look at what is best for the state as a whole. The state as a whole can bring a lot to the people but a single person acting on their own individual interests...
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