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Piety and Impiety - Essay Example

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Piety and Impiety

This meant he was more likely to face the consequences of his actions as those against him yielded the power to prosecute him. According to Plato’s (Socrates close friend) account, Socrates prosecution was masterminded by Anytus, a leading democrat. In the years before Socrates trial, the Tyrants had taken over Athens, these were lead by Critias, a former pupil of Socrates (Brickhouse and Smith 26). Many of the Athenians who supported the democrats and the democrats who were overthrown by the tyrants viewed Criatias actions as emanating from Socrates teachings. The fact that Critias made it clear that he had cast aside the follies of his youth, such as education, did not change the Athenians view of Socrates role in the growth of the tyrants. Soon after, the Tyrants were replaced by the democrats. As a sign of reconciliation and a means of healing the wounds of the civil war Socrates perceived role was sidestepped. However, Anytus who was a leading voice among the democrats was not as forgiving. His actions were not only a result of the civil war but were mostly personal as his son was a keen follower of Socrates teachings. ...
The first of these charges was impiety. Under impiety, Socrates was accused of believing in multiple gods of which the state never believed in. In extension, he failed to seek divine explanations and instead sought natural explanation for natural phenomenon. The second charge was that he corrupted the young, as part of the charge Socrates was accused of invoking a spirit of criticism among the youth (Fagan and John 121). As part of his regular teachings Socrates received great audience from the youth across all social groups in Athens, he critically evaluated prominent individuals in the marketplace. In his cross-examination of prominent people such as poets, artisans, and statesmen Socrates often dismissed them as lacking in knowledge and believing to know more than they actually did (Brickhouse and Smith 26). It is his ability to criticize those in power that he struck a code with the young and this had a profound effect among them. As stated, Socrates trial was a result of witch hunting and a bulk of what Socrates was accused of was a misrepresentation or misinterpretation of his engagements in Athens. According to the Athenians, piety was a representation of several engagements. Key among these was respect for the gods, the dead and the ancestors. They believed that any impious person was only attracting the wrath of the gods and the entire society would suffer in return, mainly through plague and sterility. Impiety charge was thus a serious charge among the Athenians. Because Socrates was a critique of existent practice it is possible that any of his words or actions would have translated to an impiety charge. A keen follower of moral instructions, Socrates may have failed to take part in significant religious festivals. Further, he attracted ...Show more


Name: Instructor: Course: Date: In what sense does the case against Socrates show that his ideas challenged the good order of society? Socrates trial appears to have been a culmination of a series of events throughout his life as an independent thinker and a philosopher…
Author : robelbridgette
Piety and Impiety essay example
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