Socrates Summary

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Accusations made against Socrates:
corrupting of youth, allowing them to question authority not respecting traditional gods
introducing new gods

He was ugly so people thought he was evil

Socrates Life:
469BC- 399BC
Born: 469 B.C.
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Died: 399 B.C. (execution by poison)
Best Known As: The great Greek philosopher who drank hemlock Socrates is the ancient Greek thinker who laid the early foundations for Western philosophical thought. His "Socratic Method" involved asking probing questions in a give-and-take which would eventually lead to the truth. Socrates was born in Athens and fought as a foot soldier in the Peloponnesian War with Sparta, but in later years became a devotee of philosophy and argument. He spent years in the public places of Athens, engaging his fellow citizens in philosophical discussions and urging them to greater self-analysis. Socrates's iconoclastic attitude didn't sit well with everyone, and at age 70 he was charged with heresy and corruption of local youth. Convicted, he carried out the death sentence by drinking hemlock, becoming one of history's earliest martyrs of conscience. There was a strong religious side to Socrates's character and thought which constantly revealed itself in spite of his penchant for exposing the ridiculous conclusions to which uncritical acceptance of the ancient myths might lead. His words and actions in the Apology, Crito, Phaedo, and Symposium reveal a deep reverence for Athenian religious customs and a sincere regard for divinity. Indeed, it was a divine voice which Socrates claimed to hear within himself on important occasions in his life. It was not a voice which gave him positive instructions, but instead warned him when he was about to go astray. He recounts, in his defense before the Athenian court, the story of his friend Chaerephon, who was told by the Delphic Oracle that Socrates was the wisest of men. That statement puzzled Socrates, he says, for no one was more aware of the extent of his own ignorance than he himself, but he determined to see the truth of the god's words. After questioning those who had a reputation for wisdom and who considered themselves, wise, he concluded that he was wiser than they because he could recognize his ignorance while they, who were equally ignorant, thought themselves wise. He thus confirmed the truth of the god's statement.

Why his death was so memorable:
It concreted his beliefs. He didn’t run away, he stuck to his teachings and made people really see how dedicated and how he believed what he taught. He had the chance to escape but didn’t. Through his death, he made his teachings indefinite, they would never be corrupted. He accepted his death so willingly. He somewhat welcomed death. He was brave and not distressed, he was very noble. He could have escaped but he stuck to his beliefs. Socrates was staunch in his beliefs. He believed in civil obedience Socrates' death is described at the end of Plato's Phaedo. Socrates turned down the pleas of Crito to attempt an escape from prison. After drinking the poison, he was instructed to walk around until his legs felt numb. After he lay down, the man who administered the poison pinched his foot. Socrates could no longer feel his legs. The numbness slowly crept up his body until it reached his heart. Shortly before his death, Socrates speaks his last words to Crito: "Crito, we owe a cock to Asclepius. Please, don't forget to pay the debt." Asclepius was the Greek god for curing illness, and it is likely Socrates' last words meant that death is the cure—and freedom, of the soul from the body. Additionally, in Why Socrates Died: Dispelling the Myths, Robin Waterfield adds another interpretation of Socrates' last words. He suggests that Socrates was a voluntary scapegoat; his death was the purifying remedy for Athens’ misfortunes. In this view, the token of appreciation for Asclepius would represent a cure for the ailments of Athens

His trial:...
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