The theme I chose is power, specifically the power of the kings, as I feel that it greatly portrays the importance and high-class roles in society. This elaborate piece of artwork shows a crown that is made for a great king. The jewels of the crown are a representation of the reverence that the people have for the king. The king is even buried with pieces of gold from the crown, which only further contributes to the sense of power and authority that the kings have. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, there are positive and negative aspects of the power of Gilgamesh, the King of Uruk. His power is portrayed in a negative way through his abuse of power, which we see through him raping women and demanding too much control. For example, the people of Uruk say: “[Though powerful, pre-eminent,] expert [and mighty,] [Gilgamesh] lets [no] girl go free to [her bridegroom.] (George, 2003, p. 4). Gilgamesh’s power, however, is also beneficial for the people, as he is a strong and confident leader that does not give up. He has goals in mind and will not stop at anything in achieving them for the people. This is clearly seen in the story when Enkidu advises Gilgamesh to stay away from the forest of Cedar, but Gilgamesh goes anyway. We see Gilgamesh respond with ‘Why, my friend, do you speak like a weakling?’ (George, 2003, p. 19), showing that he is persistent in what he believes is right. Not only is his power shown through Gilgamesh’s actions, but also through the words, actions, and beliefs of the people. The people’s loyalty to Gilgamesh is seen on page 23 through their speaking to Enkidu: “In our assembly we place the King in your care: you bring him back and replace him in ours!” (George, 2003, p. 23). Gilgamesh gains even more confidence in his power as king knowing that the people of Uruk want him to return safely and rely on him. Overall, the exquisite design of the crown in this artwork is representative of the admiration the people have towards him, contributing to his power and authority.
Adding to my original theme of power, for this piece of art I wanted to talk specifically about the power of Socrates, and the power of Meletus and the Judge in, “The Trials of Socrates.” With the theme of power in mind, this artwork immediately caught my attention. The strong fist in the middle represents the power of Socrates and his unwillingness to give up in what he believed in and his strong obedience to God. He didn’t care if he has to die, as long as he was loyal to what God commanded, sought for wisdom, and examined the truth and people of Athens. He states, “Athenians, I hold you in the highest regard and love; but I will obey God rather than you.” (Plato, p.57 ) He also showed great power and determination in the questioning of Meletus and Euthyphron. When questioning Meletus, he was very wise and tried to confuse Meletus to get him to admit that he doesn’t truly care about what Socrates is doing to the youth. The two-blinded men represent the power of the Society of Athens, including Meletus and the judge. The government has so much control over the people of Athens, especially the youth. For example, Socrates states, “and they (City of Athens) spoke to you when you were at the age most readily to believe them.” (Plato, p.37) Because Socrates’s teachings were different than those of Athens, he is going to be prosecuted and eventually put to death. According to the jury and Meletus, the youth is being blinded and corrupted by Socrates’ teachings against God. This shows how the youth’s feelings and opinions are of virtually no importance, but instead Socrates’ feelings and beliefs are pushed onto the youth, therefore essentially controlling their minds. Overall, the theme of power is clearly portrayed throughout the, ”Trials of Socrates,” and is evident through the actions and events of Socrates, Meletus, and the Judge and I feel like this picture symbolizes this.
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