The Good Life Essay

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The Good Life The presentation of the important concept of the good life varies throughout ancient Greek literature. In the examination of the Croesus story in Historia versus the Apology, Crito and The Republic, this comparison and contrast of the good life is apparent. Factors such as a good reputation, importance of wisdom, the value of life versus death, wealth and physical strength all come to play in this discussion of what it truly means to live the good life. One differentiation in the portrayal of the good life that occurs in these works is that of the significance of a good reputation. In the Croesus story, reputation is considered a substantial component of living the good life. Croesus asks Solon whom he believes to be the most fortunate of all people. After Solon states that it was Tellus, Croesus questions him who he considers to have lived the next best life. He asserts that it was the Argives, Cleobis and Biton. In the story, the men drag a cart carrying their mother to the temple. When they arrive, the multitude there at the temple gathers around praising the boys and their mother. The mother is ecstatic because of her son’s actions; and Solon states that they “had honored her so highly, the very best thing that it was possible for a human being to have” (13). This description of their standing in the community demonstrates the great importance of a good reputation in the pursuit of the good life. Socrates in Crito refutes this idea of the importance of a good reputation and honor. In response to Crito’s statement inquiring what could be worse than a bad reputation, Socrates declares, “what matters to us what the many think?” (534). Socrates goes on to say that the public’s opinion has no effect on a person’s true character. He asserts that, “they do things quite at random” (534). The position of wisdom being imperative in the pursuit of the

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