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Way over thinking it: My Little Pony vs. Plato’s Republic

You may think at first that My Little Pony has very little in common with the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, but apparently you’d be wrong. It’s actually a brightly colored allegory that well represents the ideals put forth in Plato’s ‘Republic’.

The popularity of the television show “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” among the Brony community is based on the show’s depth: Well-developed characters, complex plotlines, and numerous allusions to other works. However, My Little Pony is not simply the story of talking, pastel-colored equines living in a place called “Ponyville”; it is also the most detailed allegory of Plato’s Republic ever written. Everything from Plato’s ideas on utopian society and government structure to his Platonic Forms has representation in MLP’s Equestria.

Plato’s Republic, written in the fourth century BCE, is his most famous dialogue. Throughout most of his writing, Plato uses his teacher Socrates as a character who argues with various people about great questions of philosophy. Although the character Socrates is the one speaking in the Republic, consensus among scholars holds that that the ideas of Republic are those of Plato, not Socrates. In Book One of Republic, Socrates is challenged to prove that it is worthwhile to live a just life. To prove that justice is rewarding, Socrates decides to examine it on a larger scale than that of an individual. Since a state is a collection of individuals, he spends the majority of Republic envisioning the development of the most just city-state, a sort of utopia. It is this ideal city that resembles the Equestria of My Little Pony so closely.

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