Socrates Apology

Download 7.89 Kb.
Size7.89 Kb.
Bill Stikes

Socrates Apology

Who Won?

The question is: Who won? The answer: Socrates. Socrates became victorious because he did not give the jurors what they wanted to hear. Socrates interrogated and found conflicts in his charges. Socrates knew he was facing death. He was not afraid of death. He would rather die than to quit practicing philosophy. It was more important for him to philosophize then to please the people of Athens. Socrates knew that many people thought they are much more than what they really were. Many with the highest reputation had the least amount of knowledge. Socrates, accused of corrupting the youth and not believing in the same gods, did not act as many who had been in the same situation – crying or pleading for his life. Death was a blessing for Socrates, for he knew he had lived upright, but would die through an unjust conviction. He knew that after his death, those who found him guilty would have found life more difficult.

So, who won? This question is philosophical in nature. A central question to be explored is how did the followers of Meletus think they would be victorious over Socrates? Socrates wasn't concerned in any way with obtaining victory over them. He as more concerned with truth than with life. Rather than plead for his life, he made the Athenian jury rethink the way they were thinking. He attempted to show them that truth does prevail - whether he lived or died was not important to him. Philosophy was on trial; Socrates was not on trial.

Socrates won because lived his life on his terms. Not many people can say that they've done that. It's a risky lifestyle. Imagine no fear of death, no fear of authority. Socrates told the jury that he would not yield to any man contrary to what is right, for fear of death (Plato, Five Dialogues, pg. 36). Many men are willing to take a firm stand when their life hangs in the balance. Socrates’ journey for truth and wisdom was more important to him than his own life. He believed that he was enacting the wishes of God and fulfilling his duties as a believer in God. He knew that Meletus and his other accusers were harming the youth of Athens more than they were harming him. Socrates even asks for the jury to enact the same grief upon his sons as he has enacted upon them (Plato Five Dialogues, pg. 44).

Socrates’ appetite for the truth never diminished, even while facing his own death. Their desire to rid themselves of him didn't damper his true love of wisdom. If each one of us could harbor one half of Socrates' love of wisdom and truth then we too could prevail.

The Apology, written by Plato, is a speech that Socrates gives in the presence of his fellow Athenians about Meletus, his accuser before the court, not providing evidence to prove Socrates guilty of the crimes. In the end, Socrates was found guilty of his crimes and sentence to death. Truly though, who won? Did Meletus really win or did Socrates win?

Meletus could not provide valid evidence to convict Socrates of the crimes charge against him. He could not find one Athenian youth person to testify that Socrates has corrupted their minds. Socrates gave Meletus many names who he could have called forth to testify as a witness of this corruption. Socrates announce that “if I corrupt some young men and have corrupted others, then surely some of them who have grown older and realized that I gave them bad advice when they were young should now themselves come up here to accuse me and avenge themselves” (Five Dialogues pg.37). Nobody came forth. Even though, Meletus could not provide solid evidence, the jury sentenced Socrates to die.

Many people believe death to be a terrible thing. After sentenced to death, Socrates did not beg or plead for his fellow Athenians to spare his life. Rather, he considered death as a blessing in disguise. “It is one of two things: either the dead are nothing and have no perception of anything, or it is, as we are told, a change and a relocating for the soul from here to another place” (Five Dialogues pg 41). Socrates believed that when he died he would be in a place where he could continue learning and knowing from other people.

So, who won? Socrates, definitely. No matter what death might hold, Socrates will be happy because he will either have one of two things. He will either have no knowledge or prospective of anything. For him “all eternity would then seem to be no more than a single night” (Five Dialogues pg 43). If death is only going to another place, Socrates will be happy there as well because “it would be a wonderful way for him to spend his time whenever he met Palamedes and Ajax, the son of Telamon, and any other of the men of old who died through an unjust conviction, to compare my experience with theirs” (Five Dialogues pg 44). He wwould be able to continue his work of learning, knowing, and trying to find the one person with absolute knowledge.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2020
send message

    Main page