Are Humans Animals, Or Are They Something More? Essay, Research Paper
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 body, especially at the city he was defending.
?Palamedes?though he was innocent, the Greeks condemned him to death on lying evidence, false charges, simply because he had opposed the war. Killing someone for opposing the war is ridiculous. He is one of the few people in this poem that are not animal like. This shows that the almost all Greeks are no more than animals. The Greeks again had no real reason to go to war, except that they just wanted more territory. Palamedes was the one who decided to stand up for what was right, and he was killed for it.
Thucydides gives some good examples in On Justice Power and Human Nature of how humans are nothing more than animals. ?Every form of death was seen at this time?fathers killed sons; men were dragged out of the temples and then killed?and some who walked up in the temple of Dionysus died inside it.? (Thucydides p.90) This is about the civil war in Corcyra. Men killing sons? Animals never do this. The parents always nurture their young, and would never kill them. This is just disgusting. Possibly even worse, are men being dragged out of a place of worship to be murdered, let alone being killed right inside the temple. The temple is a place of worship, not a place of war. These people were also killing their fellow countrymen. Instead of killing their own people, they should be trying to increase their population, because it was the nature of the humans (animals) of that time to go to war. They would be so vulnerable; they would have no chance to win if they were attacked.
?Civil war ran through the cities; those it struck later heard what the first cities had done and far exceeded them in inventing artful means for attack and bizarre forms of revenge.? (Thucydides p.90) People should not be getting more barbaric as the war spread; the leaders should have been trying to make peace, instead of finding more horrendous forms of attack and revenge. ?To take revenge was of higher value than never to have received injury.? (Thucydides p.91) Even if there was no serious damage done, people were still taking revenge to levels so high, that it was totally unnecessary.
Are human beings animals, or are we something more? Human beings are nothing more than animals. Going to war over nothing more than to gain territory when they sustained perfectly well in the first place, selling dead men for gold, plotting for an even harsher revenge is all barbaric. There was never a need for so much war, and the punishments people received for petty crimes such as burying a dead man, which should not be a crime in the first place