Monarch And The Old Oligarch Analysis

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Thucydides’ portrait of Perikles (TPOP) believes that the common populace are just as good as anyone else, if not more so, because they work hard and as humans are equal and just. The Old Oligarch believes that the kakos are inherently lesser and are bad and that the agathos are by nature are better people and are more qualified for running the city. Thus, the difference in perceptions of democracy between the Old Oligarch and Thucydides’ portrait of Perikles arises from their different views of social class and their inherent qualities of worth and honor.
One of the points that TPOP and the Old Oligarch disagree on is their different stances on what defines worth and honor, and thus who is worthy and honorable. TPOP believes that worth and
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TPOP implies that the citizens in general are good for making decisions. TPOP mentions that Athenians are “able to judge at all events” (Thucydides 2.40). The ability to judge, then, is important in those that lead Athens. “Ordinary citizens” are “still fair judges of public matters” regardless of whether or not they are “occupied with the pursuits of industry” (Thucydides 2.40). Therefore, TPOP believes that the ability to judge is an important trait in the leaders of Athens, regardless of social class and wealth. TPOP also states that “merit as a citizen” is an important trait that also impacts a person’s worth (Thucydides 2.42). This in turn affects the “character of our country” so merit as a citizen is desirable in the leaders of the city. Not only that, but TPOP also states that “merit as a citizen more than outweighed his demerits as an individual” (Thucydides 2.42). Thus, as long as a person has merit as a citizen and can serve Athens well, it does not matter what he is as a citizen. This applies to social class as well, since it would potentially be a “demerit as an individual,” especially in the Old Oligarch’s eyes. The Old Oligarch does not think that ____ are desirable qualities for the decision-makers of the city. [BLAH BLAH OO …show more content…
TPOP states that under the people and the current form of government Athens became great. Democracy, led by the populace, is “the form of government under which our greatness grew” (Thucydides 2.36). He also says that under democracy and the people “the mother country has been furnished… with everything that can enable her to depend on her own resources whether for war or for peace” implying that the citizens have brought about a change for the better (Thucydides 2.36). Thus TPOP thinks that the demos are good for Athens and have made it a better place. Conversely, the Old Oligarch thinks that the demos do not contribute as many benefits to Athens compared to the agathos. He says, satirically, that the common people are “the ones who impart strength to the city far more than the hoplites, the high-born, and the good men” (Pseudo-Xenophon I.2). As satire, the Old Oligarch’s writing really means to convey the opposite—he really actually means that the high-born are better for the city, and that the common people are not and thus should not be contributing to the government the way they do in a democracy. Putting these people in charge demotes the people who, to the Old Oligarch, are better contributors and leaders. Thus, TPOP believes that democracy is good because the people have been able to

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