Platos Apology of the Socrates

Plato’s Apology of the Socrates
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Plato’s Apology of the Socrates
The Socrates Apology refers to the account of self-defense that was rendered against the
allegations of corruption and immorality (Plato, 2017). The Socrates had been accused of
corruption of the youth and lack of belief in the gods that the rest of the city inhabitants believed
in (Plato, 2017). The incident dates back to approximately 469-399 BC (Plato, 2017). The
Socrates appeared before the jury in Athens over the accusations against them by three orators,
Lycon, Meletus and Anytus (Plato, 2017). The philosopher opens a room for dialogue with the
jury in the effort to make them understand the truth in his words irrespective of his sophistic
language (Plato, 2017). The Socrates starts by admitting his ignorance and lays a foundation on
which he appeases the jury on the charges placed against him.
In defense, Socrates faced two accusations; impiety against the gods of the city of Athens
through the introduction of other gods and the corruption of the youth by building doubt of the
customs (Plato, 2017). However, the Socrates uses ignorance as a tool of defense by insisting
that he is not a sophist (wise man) and thus does not know anything noble. However, he speaks
mastery and even embarrasses his accusers by reformulating their accusations that he referred to
as ‘old’ into stronger and logical arguments (Plato, 2017). He even dares them to use his
approach to issues which makes weak arguments stronger and legal.
In the Apology, he first clears the claims that he is a wise man (Plato, 2017). He achieves
that by visiting the oracle of Delphi to inquire of the presence of another individual wiser than
him (Siegel, 2009). However, the oracle pronounced that Socrates was the wisest man. In the
course of proving the oracle wrong, he went in search of wisdom among poets, politicians, and
scholars but found that even those people perceived by the society as wise were not actually wise
(Plato, 2017). His discovery formed a new line of defense as he knew he was not wise, even if
the society perceived him as wise.
In response to the youth corruption claim, Socrates argues that the youth follow him
around the city because they have little to do with their time (Plato, 2017). Therefore, he did not
train the youth to violate the status quo but they observed it from him themselves in the course of
his interaction with people who pretend to be wise. Socrates, as a wiser man, had acquired a bad
reputation among powerful personalities in the city of Athens because he constantly examined
their wisdom and in the event, embarrassed them in front of the following youths (Plato, 2017).
In defense, Socrates argues that the pattern of the argument of the jury is influenced by
major personalities of the city among which he had built a bad reputation (Plato, 2017). He
defends his attitude from the perspective that his enemies are envious and malicious to him.
Having known that he was the wisest individual, he felt proud of his personality and would not
hesitate to interrogate prophets, seers, politician, poets and other personalities to determine
whether they were impostors (Plato, 2017).
In response to the second accusation of impiety, Socrates engages Meletus in a dialogue
that leads him into contradicting himself (Plato, 2017). Instead of reinstating the Socrates was
guilty of corruption and impiety, Meletus contradicts himself that the claims are as a result of
prejudiced gossip by Socrates’ enemies. After defending himself, he freely tells the jury that he
is not afraid of death, the impending punishment of his offenses (Plato, 2017). He attributes his
conduct to his desire for truth and understanding unlike the members of the jury that are only
interested in honor, reputation and financial gains (Plato, 2017). As such, he considers his
oracular responsibility and obedience more important than his obedience to the human authority
of the city of Athens (Siegel, 2009). Speaking in an emotional and provocative manner, Socrates
withdraws responsibility for his claims because he was not a paid teacher thus had no obligation
to influence the society (Plato, 2017). In conclusion of his legal defense, he argues that his
religious duty is more important than even his life and reinstates that he would solely rely on
sound arguments and the truth (Plato, 2017).
Thematic Analysis
The main theme of Socrates's apology is knowledge. When an individual is charged with
a societal responsibility, especially philosophy, he should never betray it even at death (Plato,
2017). The apology talks about wisdom in the society. The Oracle proves that Socrates, besides
regarding himself as not wise, is the wisest man in the city of Athens (Plato, 2017). The narrative
proves that in the society, knowledge, and wisdom is not necessarily held by great personalities
in the society such as politicians, poets, and craftsmen (Siegel, 2009). In the case of the city of
Athens in which Socrates found out that they were simply impostors, not as wise as they were
perceived by the society. In this realization, the apology is of greater philosophical importance
(Plato, 2017). It is important to note that Socrates knows more because he regarded himself as
ignorant as opposed to the enlightened personalities in Athens who become ignorant as they
think that they know more than they actually do (Plato, 2017). Therefore, the apology brings the
attribute of humility in knowledge (Siegel, 2009). Socrates, despite being the wisest man in
Athens, operates in utmost humility and presents his argument in a logical manner to prove his
innocence of the claims rather than display his knowledge (Plato, 2017).
The apology also explores the theme of dedication to the society (Plato, 2017). During
the trial, Socrates professes that he is dedicated to enlightening the people (Plato, 2017). He even
reinstates that he is willing to remain loyal to his philosophical calling even at death, provides
truth prevails (Siegel, 2009). The fact that Socrates was hardly paid justifies that his obligation to
teach the people was as a result of his dedication to responsibility and not for financial gain
(Plato, 2017). After the votes of members of the jury that rendered him guilty, Socrates calls for
celebration in his honor instead of begging for the reconsideration of the decision by the jury
(Plato, 2017). The Socrates believed that knowledge never dies, and that he would continue with
his obligation in a quieter fashion through the legacy that he would leave in the society.
The apology also explores the theme of the wrongs and rights in the society (Siegel,
2009). After being charged with morally corrupting the society, the Socrates uses questions to
bring Meletus, his accuser into his line of thought that the charges are as a result prejudice gossip
of wicked friends (Plato, 2017). He proves his allegiance to the gods of Athens through
consultation of the Oracle to find if there is any individual that is wiser than him in Athens
(Plato, 2017). He also expresses the fear of the gods when he says that he owes the oracle more
responsibility than the human authorities (Plato, 2017).
Philosophers, in course of enlightening the society often encounter challengers that
question their aim and ideals of education (Siegel, 2009). It is also difficult for them to analyze
their educational efforts. Moreover, they find it difficult to relate between the authority of the
institutions that exist in the society and that they have over their students (Siegel, 2009). For
instance, Socrates found it difficult to integrate the interference of the authorities of the city of
Athens into his responsibility to enlighten the society, He would not also limit his followers
from learning everything from him, thus was accused of corrupting the youth to violate the
customs of the city.
Education is the basic agenda of philosophers (Siegel, 2009). The Idea of philosophy in
education can be clearly seen from many contemporary philosophers of the past, who sought to
integrate education in their philosophy through publishing of journals, morals, mind and
language (Siegel, 2009). For instance, Socrates owed to the society a responsibility to ensure that
truth prevails, even at death. He would not relent and ask for forgiveness before the jury, but
rather calls for cerebration because he knows his wisdom would continue to trend in the society
even after he was killed (Plato 2017). Philosophy plays a major role in education as it is the
backbone of disciplines such as politics, epistemology, metaphysics and mind and language
philosophy (Siegel, 2009). The same dilemma in which the ancient philosophers found
themselves in resembles some moral issues in the society today. The question of responsibility
over education, right to education, the need and frequency to attend educational classes and the
desirability of education all relate to the philosophical responsibility of educating and
enlightening the society (Siegel, 2009).
In conclusion, death cannot be the deterrent to the moral responsibility of a philosopher
because there is no true knowledge of death. Knowledge is a pursued attribute which resides in
the mind and can continue to work even in the absence of the body, thus eradicating the fear of
death. The state of the soul is more important than the state of the body as it is the determinant of
the well-being and achievement of an individual. The Socrates shows dedication to his
philosophy despite the majority opposition. Most importantly, the apology indicates that
philosophy is an important and influential aspect of the society
Plato, B. (2017). Apology. BookRix. Retrieved from:
Siegel, H. (2009). The Oxford handbook of philosophy of education. Oxford: Oxford University

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