Ideology as Political Weapon: How Alamut Challenges the Justice of Plato’s Republic

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Krupa Patel


I explore Vladimir Bartol’s Alamut, drawing on its sociopolitical context in 1938 Slovenia, as a cautionary tale about potential unjust consequences of putting into practice Plato’s model of a just city-state, as described in the Republic (380 BC). I also investigate how key structures of Plato’s republic have been applied to ideologically driven European totalitarian states and modern terrorist organizations, such as al-Qaeda, and argue that the injustice of such institutions has its origins in the deception at the core of their guiding creeds. Following the critiques of Jasbir Puar and Amit Rai in “Monster, Terrorist, Fag” (2002), I conclude by addressing how Alamut, as a novel that cautions against ideologies, advances particular racial ideologies itself regarding the Middle East’s relationship to terrorism. I explore key implications of this understanding of the novel as we consider the inherent dangers of the inescapable tool that is ideology.

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