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Are Humans Animals, or Are They Something More?

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Human beings should be more than animals, but are they really? In Republic, by Plato, Antigone, by Sophocles, The Aeneid of Virgil, by Virgil, and On Justice Power and Human Nature, by Thucydides, it seems as though human beings really are nothing more than animals.

Animals are thought of as not caring about anyone but himself or herself. It is survival of the fittest, if you are not strong enough, someone else will take your place. Human should be caring for other human beings, if someone is in trouble, another human should help them. This is not the way it is in these 3 works. Humans don't care about anyone but themselves, they kill so they can better themselves, and don't care what happens. It seems as people are getting murdered all the time to take power, and the killer, instead of being jailed, is now the leader.

In Plato's Republic, he basically designs a caste system. People are chosen at birth what level they will be in society, and there is nothing they can do about this. This is almost like a food chain. In regards to reproduction, Socrates severely regulates sex. Socrates proposes a rigged lottery to ensure that the best man has sex with the best woman, and all women and children are shared between all the men. People can only have sex within their own class to guarantee the finest genetics. After the babies are born, the rulers will take them; the babies of the lesser classes will be left to die, whereas the babies of the upper class will take care of by nurses. This is totally barbaric, even animals know what happens to their offspring, whether they die due to a predator or they become healthy adults. In this situation it is humans being the predator. (Plato p.125)

In Antigone, Creon is about as close to an animal as you can get. He refuses to bury his own nephew, Polynices. Even if Creon didn't want him buried in Thebes, he could at least have his body sent back to his city to be buried. Then, after he finds out that Antigone buried Polynices, he sentences her, and her sister Ismene to death. He just assumes that Ismene helped Antigone, even though Ismene tried to talk Antigone out of burying Polynices. Even though Antigone seems the most human, or least animal like for trying to give her brother a proper burial, she tells Creon that she would not have done it for her husband, or child. (Antigone p.105) This brings Antigone down to the level of an animal because she would just let her husband's or child's body rot on the ground. Haemon is the only one in this play that does anything respectable by killing himself to show Creon that he was wrong by forbidding the burial of Polynices, and sentencing Antigone to death for burying Polynices.

The Aeneid of Virgil gives some of the best examples of how humans are nothing more than animals. "Within, unholy Rage shall sit on his ferocious weapons, bound behind his back by a hundred knots of brass; he shall groan horribly with bloody lips." (Virgil p.11) This sounds incredibly barbaric. This shows that the urge for war in ancient Rome is so strong, that it can almost not be withstood. It has to be held back with something so strong, Virgil describes it as brass. Humans are thought of as being civil, and at peace with each other. Looking for war all the time is more animal like. Animals kill other animals for food; humans are killing humans for bragging rights. All their looking for is to expand their empire. Expanding your empire is not necessary as long as it is being sustained as it is.

"Three times Achilles had dragged Hector round the walls of Troy, selling his lifeless body for gold." (Virgil p 18) This is absolutely repulsive. Selling a dead man's body for gold is totally not called for. Hector was Troy's most fearless warrior. Achilles succeeded in killing him, let the man be buried, not dragged around the city. This is like an animal dragging his prey home to eat. Achilles should not have been trying to make money off of Hector's



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