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The Apology - Essay Example

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It is the interpretation of Socrates’ trial. The “apology” is not an act of regret for one’s actions or being sorry for that matter since the Greek word “apologia” originally means “explanation.” In this…
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Topic: The Apology Introduction The Apology of Socrates was written by his Plato. It is the interpretation of Socrates’ trial. The “apology” is not an act of regret for one’s actions or being sorry for that matter since the Greek word “apologia” originally means “explanation.” In this case, Socrates was not sorry for what the people of Athens accused him but rather was a form of defense. Socrates defended himself in front of the jury by explaining what kind of life he had and who he was. The apology summarizes his defense in form of speech which he laid during his trial. He was found guilty and faced death penalty not because he was not able to present an effective dialogue but his opponents or accusers were highly threatened by his great wisdom which he did not boast off. Socrates further asserted that he wasn’t an evildoer and denied the accusations on him corrupting the minds of the youth and that relied heavily on the existence of God. He claimed that man knows nothing and if he knows even a little bit of something, this should not be a reason to be proud of because he himself humbled his wisdom on things.
As one of the most influential Greek philosophers of his time, Socrates did not attack corruption or worship in false gods but rather on exposure of man to false wisdom. He believed in morality and that this could bring about happiness in an individual. Hence, throughout his trial, he was able to prove he was not a wretched man that he did not corrupt the youth, and that there was no man wiser than God.
The Oracle of Delphi
It was in Delphi where the myth of Zeus can be recalled being curious about the exact location of the earth’s center. Zeus release two eagles from Mount Olympus then flew in opposite directions and met at Delphi. The Oracle of Delphi was the most important shrine in Greece dating back to 1400 BC. Delphi was considered the navel or center of the world. People from all over Greece come to Delphi for answers about their future. Pythia, the priestess of Apollo could determine the course of everything from when a farmer planted his seedlings, to when an empire declared war.
Socrates did not celebrate nor boast when he learned from a friend that the Oracle of Delphi had revealed the wisest man in Athens since he thought of himself as ‘ignorant.’ Instead, he tried to prove it wrong. After questioning everyone about what was truly worthwhile in life and no one fairly answered but pretended that they knew something but actually did not, Socrates finally realized that the Oracle was right. He alone admitted his own ignorance and did not pretend to know something he did not.
Socrates on Achilles
Socrates compared himself to Achilles, the greatest hero of Trojan War and classical Greeks. Achilles and Socrates held the same principle in life. Both have the desire to do what they set out to do and were both willing to sacrifice life for the sake of truth.
Socrates tries to prove himself to be a great Greek hero like his predecessor, Achilles. In comparison to the latter, Socrates values his own idea of morals, honor, and duty to the gods over the ideals of the Athenians. In vengeance to the death of his friend Patroclus, Achilles was more than willing in honor of his gods. On a similar account in the Apology of Socrates, he said, “Gentlemen, I am your very grateful and devoted servant, but I owe a greater obedience to God than to you;” (p. 53). In this sense, Socrates claims why he feels the need to practice his philosophy even though he knows that it may lead to his own death.
The heroic ideal of Socrates differs from that of Achilles because even if they share the same philosophy of giving up life for the sake of honor, they held different views of what it is like in death or in the underworld. For Socrates, death is a place where fascinating people gather around seemingly pictured like a paradise. This greatly differs from that of Achilles where the world beneath is filled with shadows of what people once were. Hence, a dark world is it. For Socrates, death is the last resort to adventure.
West, T.G. & West, G.S. (1998). Four Texts on Socrates: Platos Euthyphro, Apology,
and Crito and Aristophanes Clouds. Revised Edition. Cornell University Press. Read More
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