Superheroes 10/16 – Plato’s ring allegory

We’re still talking about allegory. Today we read Plato’s allegory about the ring of Gyges. Before reading we went over four reading strategies to use when reading something dense and difficult:

1) Chunk and summarize

Draw lines after paragraphs (or groups of short paragraphs) and as you read pause to write a short summary in the margins after each chunk

2) Bracket and dig

If/when you get stuck, embrace the confusion. Mark what section lost you with [brackets] and figure out what the problem is. Do you not understand some of the words? Is the tone different than before? Is someone else speaking and you missed the quotation marks? Is the sentence really long and you’re having trouble following their thoughts?

3) Highlighting and underlining

Sometimes just the act of moving or doing something active helps us focus. Use a highlighter (or pen) to go over the paper. Don’t worry so much about what you’re underlining, but rather why you are underlining (an interesting sentence or idea, a word or phrase you like, something unexpected).

4) Organize key terms

Skim the document the first time and figure out what ideas or words are most important. Put them in boxes on a sheet of paper, and as you come across them in the reading fill in your boxes with quotes/ideas/summaries/questions

For tomorrow, answer these three questions:

  1. What is the story of the ring an allegory for?
  2. Do you agree with Plato’s characterizations of human nature?
  3. Which reading strategy did you choose, and how helpful was it?

Here’s the text: Plato’s ring


One thought on “Superheroes 10/16 – Plato’s ring allegory

  1. 1.) The story of the ring is an allegory for humanities greed. In the story, the just shepherd discovers a ring that allows him to become invisible. Once he realized the ring’s ability, he quickly used it to gain the king’s wife, and his kingdom, becoming the king himself. This shows that should a just person suddenly gain power over others, it is very likely that they will focus on their own gain, doing things that would benefit themselves.
    2.) Yes, i completely agree with Plato’s characterization of human nature. His description of the thoughts of those that know of the power one has is something i know that even I have done. When seeing someone with power who could use it for injustice, many would think that he is stupid, and that if they had such power they’d clearly use it for injustice, but at the same time they don’t want any injustice to effect them, creating a double standard.
    3.) The reading strategy i used was to underline and highlight. By using this strategy, it allows me to mark certain areas of interest that i may have a thought about or would like to come back to, and doing so allows me to do that easily. I was able to compare Plato’s thoughts about how people would think of those not using their power for injustice a dumb, and his test on the life of the unjust thought to be just and the just thought to be just, which both show that in each situation, the unjust person ends up much happier than the just in every way.


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