My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic draws on everything from the musicals of Stephen Sondheim to Lord of the Rings. But is their a classic philosophical touch to the social structure of pony-filled land of Equestria? An essay on the aptly titled site Overthinking It examines the parallels between Equestria and Kallipolis, the titular utopia of Plato's Republic.

The author, who is referred to as Starswirl the Goateed (apparently the hipster version of Twilight Sparkle's favorite magical pioneer), connects the three pony types (Earth ponies, Pegasus ponies, and Unicorn ponies) to the three classes Plato envisions for Kallipolis: the producing class, the civil service and military class, and the ruling class:

To keep people happy with their place in society, Plato argued for the promotion of the "Myth of the Metals", the claim that citizens are somewhat literally born from the earth of their nation. By supporting their nation, they are thus supporting their family. People are imbued with an essence of metal, which determines their social status in society. Each citizen must follow, for the sake of their country, the role in life determined by this metal; those with iron or bronze souls are predestined to work in the producing classes, while those of silver and gold will make up the Auxiliaries and Guardians. This is an example of a "Noble Lie", a fictional myth portrayed as fact to encourage moral behavior.

In Equestria, ponies are divided into three "classes", which are also loosely hereditary: The Earth Ponies, Pegasi, and Unicorns. The episode "Baby Cakes", showing an earth pony couple giving birth to one Pegasus and one Unicorn, suggests that there can be change between generations, but the surprised reaction of the Mane 6 suggests that this is unusual. Earth ponies act as the producing class; Applejack the farmer and Pinkie Pie the baker both fit into this role of producing goods. With the exception of air shows and magic acts, Earth ponies also dominate the entertainment industry as the producers do in Kallipolis; the quartet that plays at the Grand Galloping Gala is entirely Earth pony, as is the entertainer Sapphire Shores.

Continuing with this model, Pegasi are equivalent to the Auxiliaries. Both are militaristic (although there is no standing army in modern Equestria, early Equestrian history referenced in "Hearth's Warming Eve" depicts this side of the Pegasi), seek glory, and have great athletic abilities. Despite the absence of an army, the Pegasi still aid the rulers by occupying lesser government positions or providing public goods services: Controlling the weather, providing short notice security against threats in the case of the Wonderbolts, and controlling the common mail service. Rainbow Dash is a clear embodiment of the ideal Pegasus, especially after she takes up literary interests in "Read it and Weep". Perhaps overly arrogant, she remains friendly with her allies, pugilistic with her enemies, and loyal to Celestia.


Read the entire essay to see how the author fits unicorns into Plato's social structure, as well as the similarities between myth and literature in My Little Pony and Plato's ideals, and how "Hearth's Warming Eve" connects to the Allegory of the Cave.

My Little Republic: Plato is Magic [Overthinking It via Neatorama]