The Concept of Tyranny in Literature Essay

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The Concept of Tyranny in Literature

All social contract theorists and classical thinkers understand tyranny to be someone (or government) with unrestrained power that is unjust or unfair to the body, it governs. They each share some views about the effects of tyranny but they have different views on the preventions and the circumstances that give rise to tyranny. In the end, Locke has the most effective ideas as opposed to Plato and Hobbes. Although, they are all equally great minds, based on the democracy that Americans hold true, Locke’s analysis can be the only logical means of proposed prevention.

The first author, who takes particular concern with the concept of tyranny, is Plato in his work the The Republic. He
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A state of constant war and taxes is the effect tyranny would have on the people, but the people place themselves in this position. The best prevention of tyranny is the idea of just citizens equals a just society and the balance between the civic virtues: “wise, brave, moderate, and just” (Porter 38). He suggests that the “reasonable part should rule” (Porter 51) those he would call guardians because they are wise and will look to the well being of the people and not their own benefit. The basic principals of society harmony, hierarchy, and mutual obligation are what control the idea of tyranny. Requiring that everyone in society occupy a position within the city and no one should strive to rise above it or want another and that the upper classes, based on merit, protect the lower classes and lower classes are obligated to be loyal to the upper classes. He also implies that guardians have certain limits. First, they live on the public payroll to abolish the use of public office for private gain. Second, they are under the public scrutiny with no privacy and lastly, they are not to raise their own children because the child is born of the city this aids in the elimination of inherent rights that might result in a dynasty and thus tyranny.

The second author is Thomas Hobbes and his work The Leviathan. In his belief of tyranny he sees it as the natural state of man to “desire power after power” (Porter 279) and that he must acquire power to
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