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Research Papers on Plato's Apology

Plato's Apology research papers show that one of the themes to be found in Plato’s Apology has to do with the relationship that exists between an individual and the truth.  Socrates, who could have avoided the trial altogether by fleeing Athens, and who could have avoided condemnation by groveling before the court, and who could have escaped Athens after his condemnation (see Crito), chose to do none of these convenient things.  Plato's ApologyHe believed that he had a certain relationship to the truth and that that relationship carried with it the ethical duty to speak it at any and all times. To save his life by refusing to speak the truth was, as he saw it, tantamount to a soldier deserting his post during battle, “Where a man has once taken up his stand…there he is bound to remain and face the danger….”

There was a great deal of politics surrounding this trial. Athens had lost the Peloponnesian War and her empire. The aristocratic party—represented by the Thirty--had seized power and been ousted by democratic elements. The leaders of the restored democracy were suspicious of Socrates. Socrates was on trail because of the following suspicions:

  • Socrates had spoken out against certain democratic institutions, such as selection of magistrates by lot
  • Socrates had been associated with certain aristocrats such as Alcibiades and Critias
  • Socrates had, in general, offended a great number of people by proving the absurdity of their pretensions

The process by which he had come to be so loathed is explained in the Apology

Socrates death was his greatest evidence that searching for knowledge and the truth requires courage and integrity.  An individual must be loyal to the questions that arise in the conscience of man, loyal even in the face of death. "I thought at the time that I ought not to do anything common or mean when in danger: nor do I now repent of the style of my defense; I would rather die having spoken after my manner, than speak in your manner and live".

Socrates mission was to seek truth above all things.  Knowledge was the greatest asset of man, and through it, the quality of the soul is maintained.  The fact that Socrates' teachings are still relevant today, proves that his mission was not in vain.  He paved the way for philosophers such as Plato, and the birth of the first university.  And today, man still must search the global community, his own environment and himself for truth. 

One of the themes to be found in Plato’s Apology has to do with the relationship that exists between an individual and the truth.  Socrates, who could have avoided the trial altogether by fleeing Athens, and who could have avoided condemnation by groveling before the court, and who could have escaped Athens after his condemnation, chose to do none of these convenient things.  He believed that he had a certain relationship to the truth and that that relationship carried with it the ethical duty to speak it at any and all times. To save his life by refusing to speak the truth was, as he saw it, tantamount to a soldier deserting his post during battle, “Where a man has once taken up his stand…there he is bound to remain and face the danger….” There was a great deal of politics surrounding this trial.  Athens had lost the Peloponnesian War and her empire.  The aristocratic party—represented by the Thirty--had seized power and been ousted by democratic elements. The leaders of the restored democracy were suspicious of Socrates because he had spoken out against certain democratic institutions, such as selection of magistrates by lot, because he had been associated with certain aristocrats such as Alcibiades and Critias, and because he had, in general, offended a great number of people by proving the absurdity of their pretensions.  The process by which he had come to be so loathed is explained in the Apology.  Having been told by the oracle at Delphi that he was the wisest of men, he, not thinking it could be true, embarked on a search for wise men.  Questioning many who had a reputation for wisdom, he came to conclude that they were less wise than himself because he, unlike them, knew that he was not wise.  In the course of the questioning to which his various “wise men” had been subjected to, they had frequently been humiliated, and there were thus, on both political and personal grounds, many in Athens in 399 BC, who had their knife out for Socrates.

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