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ERIC Number: ED290192
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1987-Nov
Pages: 32
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
From Plato to Orwell: Utopian Rhetoric in a Dystopian World.
Deatherage, Scott
Plato's "Republic" and George Orwell's "1984" both posit visionary worlds, one where humans are virtuous and understand what Plato refers to as "the Good," and the other where citizens are pawns of a government which uses language as a form of tyranny and control. Despite these overarching differences in philosophical assumptions, Plato's world is essentially an alternate version of the tyranny found in "1984." Plato's utopia is a world where virtue reigns and where people have actually achieved his conception of the Good, not because they are protected from evil, but because the state redefines the Good in such a way as to incorporate evil. Orwell's world, with the benefit of 2,500 years of history to shape his conception of human behavior, paints a much more realistic picture of life in a world operating under Platonic authoritarian control and Platonic assumptions. Orwell's conception includes the notion that people will rebel under such a government unless they are tightly controlled, either by language or by physical oppression. His vision in "1984," then, resembles Plato's in the amount of control exercised over the populace, but operates under the belief that humans will not control their governing power with implicit virtue but will become corrupt and govern unwilling masses by force. (Thirty-six footnotes are included.) (JC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A