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Groundhog Day And Plato's Virtues

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In the motion picture Groundhog Day by Harold Ramis, and Danny Rubin, shows scenes which are directly concerned with the theory of having virtues and being a virtuous person. I shall argue that the movie, Groundhog Day, is connected with the theory of virtues, according to Plato’s view on virtue.

Four Virtues

I will be discussing how the theory of virtues by Plato’s perspective are directly or indirectly identified to the movie Groundhog Day. Plato’s view on virtue are the four cardinal virtues which are wisdom, temperance, courage and justice. These reflect the nature of the soul. Plato like most other ancient philosophers, he believes that happiness or well-being (eudaimonia) is the greatest aim of which morals can attain, therefore, the virtues are the requirements needed to attain this aim or eudaimonia. Meaning, most mortals only dream of achieving such an accomplishment.

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Becoming Truly Happy

In the early scenes of Groundhog Day, Bill Murray, is portrayed as a person with low virtues and no desire to achieve any of the four cardinal virtues. During the beginning of the film, Bill has not come close to any of the cardinal virtues defined from Plato’s version. As of now, Bill is far from close to attaining the virtue of wisdom and temperance. As the movie progresses Bill is caught in a repetition of the same day – February 2nd – over and over again. Bill could do whatever he wanted and never pay a price. Bill then does everything a person would do. He steals, lies, cheats and gets to wake up like nothing ever happened. In doing all this, he did everything Plato thinks most people would do. While he does this everyday, he grows tired of it, he becomes unhappy and realizes he can do so much more with this gift he has been given. By the end of the movie, he is helping people with flat tires, feeding homeless people and even getting a reluctant fiancée to make up her mind. Although he is not being selfish any more or doing stuff for his own personal gain, he is now truly happy.

Gaining the Virtue

Leading to Plato’s point thousands of years ago. Bill with every day he relives, he tries to better himself, coming closer to eudaimonia. Meaning, instead of doing the same thing every day for personal gain, he tries to better the lives of other people even if they won’t remember him the next day. With this Bill has started to gain one of the cardinal virtues according to Plato. Bill begins to gain the justice virtue. With this Bill began to really want people to enjoy their lives and took time out his day to see people happy. While doing so, Bill managed to attain another virtue. Wisdom. Bill gained the virtue wisdom by just helping people and gaining knowledge, allowing him to put the virtue of justice at hand. Ultimately, I believe being a virtuous person does matter because like being able to see that your works and good deeds really make someone else happy but can make your day as well.


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