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Sophies World Essays

Sophie awakens the next morning, still incredulous of what she saw in the video. When she retreats to her den, Hermes arrives with a new lesson, this one on Plato’s Academy.

Plato, Socrates’ pupil, founded a school on Socrates’ teaching, called The Academy. Philosophy, mathematics, and gymnastics were the subjects taught.

Plato taught that there were two worlds: the temporary material world and the eternal world of ideas. The world of ideas contained the ideas, or "Forms," from which all material things were patterned. Thus, though our senses may deceive us and give us an incomplete picture of material things, through reason we can comprehend the ideal world.

Plato also believed that man had an immortal soul, which belonged to the world of reason. He also taught that man’s soul existed in the ideal world prior to birth. At birth, man forgot the world of ideas and spent his entire life trying to return to that world.

Plato taught the Myth of the Cave. In this scenario, men dwelt in a cave, seeing shadows on the wall at the back of the cave. Man must break free and turn toward the light making the shadows and thus discover that reality that was making the shadows.

Plato’s ideal state consisted of three parts: rulers, auxiliaries, and laborers. The rulers would be philosopher kings. Also, in this ideal state, women would be equal, although he later modified this view due to political pressure.

Plot Overview

Summary & Analysis

The Garden of Eden, The Top Hat, and The Myths

The Natural Philosophers, Democritus, and Fate

Socrates, Athens, and Plato

The Major's Cabin and Aristotle

Hellenism and The Postcards

Two Cultures and The Middle Ages

The Renaissance and The Baroque

Descartes, Spinoza, and Locke

Hume, Berkeley, and Bjerkely

The Enlightenment and Kant

Romanticism and Hegel

Kierkegaard and Marx

Darwin and Freud

Our Own Time and The Garden Party

Counterpoint and The Big Bang


Character List




Albert Knag

Main Ideas




Key Facts


Important Quotations Explained

Further Study



Study Questions

Suggestions for Further Reading

Writing Help

How to Write Literary Analysis

Suggested Essay Topics

How to Cite This SparkNote