Character Sketch - Cephalus from Plato' S Republic

Topics: Ethics, Justice, Old age Pages: 2 (504 words) Published: February 6, 2013
Character Sketch - Cephalus from Plato' s Republic
Choose one of the three main characters from Book One of Plato's Republic (Cephalus, Polemarchus or Thrasymachus). Write a character sketch that shows how the personality, social status, life situation and position affect the views the character holds about life and about the virtue of justice. Include the definition of justice for the character you are describing.

In book one, we are introduced to four main characters: Socrates, Cephalus, Polemarchus, and Thrasymachus. Republic takes place in the home of Cephalus and Polemarchus, in the Piraeus. Cephalus is a elderly and financially secure merchant and businessman. He lives his life in moderation, he doesn’t over-reach and try to become too wealthy, and was also not a fan of excessive spending. He certainly wouldn’t approve of the credit card debts that many Americans have. But thanks to his financial security, Cephalus has a comfortable life in old age. By living his life in moderation, the transition to an elderly lifestyle has not been shocking or depressing. Cephalus will admit that these are not his Golden Years, per say – it’s certainly not the greatest period in his life, but thanks to that moderation, he finds the old age to not be as much of a burden as his friends do. His friends are depressed and woeful of their age. They miss the lifestyle that they had in their youth. Because of their age, they can no longer partake in the things they thought made them happy – sex, drugs, rock and roll, essentially.

Cephalus has a simple idea of justice. Though he never goes to describe it himself, we can pull some context from his discussion with Socrates to fill in the details. Cephalus is an honest man, and as we said, he lives his life in moderation in all aspects. He doesn’t strive for unlimited wealth, but still values that wealth he has, and likely behaves ethically and morally for that reason. Cephalus keeps his desires at bay – he works...
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