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What did Plato believe about the human soul? The one minute guide

Updated Thursday 20th August 2015

What is Plato's chariot allegory? How did Plato explain the soul using a chariot and two horses? We've got a really simple guide...

Plato compared the soul to a person driving a chariot pulled by two flying horses Creative commons image Icon Open University / Eos statue image public domain under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license
One horse is beautiful and noble; it wants to soar into heaven. This horse is our finer spirit. Creative commons image Icon The Open University / Pony image public domain by SaeKawaii under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license
The other horse is ugly and bad. This horse represents our base nature, driven by passions and irrationality. Creative commons image Icon The Open University / Pony image (and it's actually a beautiful pony, really) Public domain by Hans under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license
The soul is our rational self, trying to keep control between these two horses pulling in opposite directions Creative commons image Icon The Open University / Horse Sledge image CC-BY-SA by Cgoodwin under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license

Plato compared the soul to a person driving a chariot pulled by two flying horses. One horse is beautiful and noble; it wants to soar into heaven. This horse is our finer spirit. The other horse is ugly and bad. This horse represents our base nature, driven by passions and irrationality. The soul is our rational self, trying to keep control between these two horses pulling in opposite directions.

Based upon an extract of our free course The Body In Antiquity.

 

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