Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Posted for Caroline Kerr

Apology, by Plato

Plato’s text, “Apology” (399 BC), presents the reader with the scene of Socrates trial where the court asserts Socrates of two accusations, (1) Socrates corrupts the youth and (2), Socrates does not believe in the Gods of the city. Despite the current understanding of the term apology, throughout the text Socrates does not reflect, regret, nor sympathize with the court regarding these accusations. The purpose of Plato’s text, Apology is to demonstrate how Socrates accepts his punishments even when he was martyred by the court in hope/order to bring everlasting enlightenment and clarity to the people of Athens, this becomes more apparent when Socrates’ Comments on his Sentence when the jury condemns him to death. Plato portrays Socrates as a hero until he dies, which reflects upon how Socrates does in fact accept his fate no matter how unjust it may be, as demonstrated by the passage Socrates' Comments on his Sentence.

One of the largest charges Socrates is accused of is corrupting the morals of the youth. The Court states, “But far more dangerous are these, who began when you were children,” When children are young, it is easy to shape their minds and allow them to take on certain believes. When Socrates tells the youth to question what is around them the people of Athens see this as tainting the youth. The purpose of this was that Socrates was attempting to undo the ‘falsehood’ in which teachers, and higher powers have embedded within children at such a young age thatthey began to take over children's thoughts. Socrates is described as, “ evil doer, and a curious person” making it seem as if all people who are curious are also evil doers. Instead of rejecting these claims, Socrates professes why he thinks it is right to change the thoughts of children so they can see clearly of what is happening around them because it is better to see evil than to see falsehoods around you. Falsehoods are taught to make beliefs seem pure, but when one uncovers the true meaning of something they have the opportunity to see the evil. According to Plato, Socrates states that those, “who searches into things under the earth and in heaven, and he makes the worse appear the better cause; and he teachers the afore said doctrines to other.” As demonstrated, it continues to discuss how he looks under the earth etc, meaning something which seems so grounded he is able to unveil something that was never meant to be found but is the foundation/root to ones thought process.

Socrates addresses his undeniable accusations when he is sentenced to death where his final words are spoken. Socrates believes that even when he dies he will continue to philosophize about everything, and that killing him will not silence him because his theories have already been exposed. Alongside with this, Socrates tells his accusers that even though they are managing to silence him so they can live free of his criticism, people who have been silenced will begin to rise to ‘replace’ Socrates and criticize them as well — showing that there is no such thing as silence. Socrates’ final words state, “... if you think by killing men you can avoid the accuser censuring your lives, you are mistaken”, this allows the thought of how even once he is killed that there court will not stop censoring the peoples thoughts to arise and how they will always find a way to silence the people. Socrates makes sure that when he is martyred that the court treats him as if he was a common man, even though he was an extremely wise man, because in the court he knew nothing so he would speak in common terms and just speak the truth. Socrates’ believes that even though he is dying he will find everlasting enlightenment with the Gods because for his entire life he lived honestly.

As shown, Plato portrays Socrates as a hero until he dies, which reflects upon how Socrates does in fact accept his fate no matter how unjust it may be, as demonstrated by the passage Socrates' Comments on his Sentence.

1 comment:

Kuan said...

You give a great overall account of your passage in the first paragraph, but you need to stay consistent with claims 1) and 2) of the court, and Socrates' corresponding responses. When you talk about Socrates' discussion of the folly of censorship, you should state right away that this relates to Socrates' relationship to the gods. Otherwise, a good précis.