[W]hen the legitimacy of inflicting punishment is admitted, how many conflicting conceptions of justice come to light in discussing the proper apportionment of punishment to offences. No rule on this subject recommends itself so strongly to the primitive and spontaneous sentiment of justice, as the lex talionis, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” —J.S. Mill, UtilitarianismDespite being born about a century later, Plato inhabits the same religious, cultural, and political world as Aeschylus. As P. E. More once wrote, “Plato was still a poet of the race of Homer and Pindar and Aeschylus, though the first of philosophers.” Like Aeschylus, Plato wrote against the background of Greek popular morality which assumed as a fundamental principle from Homer on that justice consists in reciprocation, in repayment in kind: an evil for an evil (the lex talionis). And like Aeschylus in the Oresteia, Plato in the Republic, Apology, and Crito uses Homeric, Hesiodic, and other mythic traditions, along with dialogue and logic and a large cast of characters, to construct his alternative conception of justice.What is striking about Aeschylus and Plato is that despite their major differences and disagreements, they were both concerned to provide an alternative to lex talionis. We’ve seen in the Oresteia how the lex talionis, which is attributed to the justice of Zeus, evolves into a civic system of judicial trial and punishment administered by a court of law. We’ve seen in Republic I, Apology, and Crito that Socrates is at odds with and, indeed, directly opposed to the lex talionis. For Socrates, since we should never do injustice, we should never do evil, and thus we should never do an evil in return for an evil done to us.What, for Aeschylus and for Plato, is the lex talionis? How, exactly, does it appear in their work? How do they critique it and arrive at their alternative view of justice? How, in other words, should we think of both Aeschylus and Plato as on the same team sharing the same goal of arguing against the justice of the lex talionis and the evils that it brings with it?The aim of this assignment is to encourage thoughtful, imaginative, intense, textual work. In responding to the questions above strive for interpretive clarity. Avoid lengthy quotations or mere rehashes of the text; but quotations and page/line numbers are very important and should be included in your analysis. Your paper should be 2-3 pages in length, typed, 11 or 12 Times New Roman font, single or double spaced, with a proper title.25Accurate description of Aeschylus’ views25Accurate description of Plato’s views20Use of texts to frame questions and develop answers that reveal the nuances of their arguments20Use of the texts to develop similarities and differences between their views10Creative presentation of informationThe sources that should be refrenced are The Orestia, The Republic, Apology, and Crito, Please let me know if you need any more information.
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