First Response Paper
February 20, 2012
Was the Death of Socrates Justified?
The life and death of Socrates is a topic that can spark great debates. Socrates was an ancient Greek philosopher who was put on trial for two specific reasons. In the Apology, we learn that the people of Athens claimed that Socrates did not believe in the gods of their city, but in other spiritual things. This was thought to be impious. They also believed that Socrates was corrupting the youth. Socrates did his best at trial to prove his innocence, but in the end was found guilty by the jury, and ultimately sentenced to death. Although many of his friends and supporters sought out to help Socrates escape, he accepted his sentence. Many people question why Socrates would chose a death sentence for himself. Socrates could very easily have fled the city and went into exile instead of drinking the hemlock that would kill him. Socrates was a proud man and truly believed that he was innocent of what he was being charged with. He was a law abiding citizen, and by running away into exile, he would be destroying the law. He had a respect for the city, and felt that running away would show a great disrespect. Socrates states ,”Reflect now, Socrates,” the laws may say, “that if what we say is true, you are not treating us rightly by planning to do what you are planning. We have given you birth, nurtured you, educated you; we have given you and all other citizens a share of all the good things we could.”(Crito 54) He had been a citizen of Athens for seventy years, which meant he followed the Athenian laws. He also had concerns for his family. If he were considered an outlaw, they may suffer some repercussions. If he were to break the law, he would be considered an outlaw, and I think that was against everything Socrates stood for. When first reading of Socrates and his fate, I questioned why he would not choose to escape into exile. After reading further into...