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Apology - Essay Example

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Apology

Yet another account of the trial is given by Aristophanes, a comic playwright. The philosopher was a member of the sub-council – the Council of Five Hundred – that ruled over the Assembly. His morals, way of thinking did not create much of a fuss at first. He did all that he thought was right, nothing more and then a time came when Athens was under attack and Sparta won the battle. The Greeks were humiliated and angry, especially when Socrates did not seem to approve of their form of government. He was considered as a critic of the then governmental system of Greece and due to this and other things he was accused against, he was put on trial by Anytus, Lycon and Meletus – the latter being the prosecutor who was mostly responsible for putting Socrates on trial. "Socrates does injustice and is meddlesome, by investigating the things under the earth and the heavenly things, and by making the weaker speech the stronger, and by teaching others these same things" (Plato, West and West 66). The above were the charges placed against Socrates and he had to plead innocent or guilty for them. In simple words, Socrates’ thoughts were not similar to the thoughts the Greeks generally had. He believed that the gods knew everything, were present everywhere, one could not hide anything or anyone from them. The majority of the Greeks thought that the gods were partially present, that they knew some things and remained unaware about others. Their concepts of gods was different and it was not that much of a problem until Socrates actually refused to follow an order regarding to agreeing to allowing something illegal to happen. He had taken a vow and believed that the gods would know he had done wrong and for this he was being put on trial, for going against what they thought was god’s will when, in fact, it was just their own. The wording of this charge of impiety makes one assume that Socrates did not believe in the gods which were worshipped by the people of Athens, but also that he did not believe in the authority of gods at all. When, in fact, that was not the case and Socrates proves them wrong at several points in his apology. Socrates relates an incident in which Chaerephon, a friend of his and also quite a famous personality in the city, went to the Oracle of Delphi and actually questioned whether anyone was wiser than Socrates and the reply was in negative. The philosopher believed this to be a paradox in itself since he did not consider himself to be the wisest person, but thought it to be true, too, so he spent his entire life trying to prove the Oracle of Delphi correct. On questioning a few of the prominent Athenians who were thought to be wise, Socrates only managed to conclude that, indeed, he was the wisest of all of them. This was because he was aware of the fact that he was still ignorant of many things of life, whilst the others thought they were intelligent enough, they did not think that there might be room for further improvement, etc. and that was the paradox itself. The fact that he knew he was ignorant and the others did not proved that he was the Oracle was right. This point did seem to humiliate the respected men and only managed to turn them against him though. But it also shows that Socrates wanted the Oracle to be right and if he ...Show more

Summary

Socrates’ Apology Socrates was a Greek Athenian thinker, famous for his work on philosophy, including some plays and also as the tutor of pupils like Plato. The Apology is a document written by Plato in which he has noted down the apology Socrates made when he was put on trial due to certain accusations put against him…
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Apology essay example
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