Proclamation to the Wisest Man (Blog post 2)

In Plato’s “The Apology”, he portrays Socrates as a humble person who knows the extent of his own knowledge. I believe he does so in order to show his readers that Socrates has died an unjustified death, since ultimately in the end he did not harm anyone or anything but he was executed because those in his society feared his philosophies. This ties me in with my theory that Plato names his excerpt “The Apology” as a pun, being both a defense mechanism that Socrates used (since the word “apology” meant ‘a speech made in defense’ during his times) to explain himself when he was in trial, and as an actual apology for Socrates since his execution was poorly justified. Plato also describes Socrates as a devoted person; when people did things, he wanted to know the reasons that they did them; he wanted to know their true intentions. This curiosity of his also portrayed him as a pest to his community because no one was able to quench Socrates’ thirst for knowledge with a thorough legitimate answer. Plato probably puts in these additional characterizations for Socrates as naturally curious and devoted in order to emphasize Socrates’ rapturous passion for knowledge. Despite being someone people would turn to for his wisdom, his thirst for knowledge and curious personality did in fact give him some opponents. His top three opponents were Metelus (the primary man responsible for Socrates being accused) and other accusers, Lycon and Anytus. Socrates was being accused of corrupting the youth and not conforming to common beliefs (religious). Socrates highly valued virtue and knowledge. In his quest for knowledge, he is ultimately accused and sentenced to death, but his life virtues allow him to accept his death as shamelessly as possible. He says that “I ought not to do anything common or mean in the hour of danger: nor do I now repent of the manner of my defence, and I would rather die having spoken after my manner, than speak in your manner and live. For neitherin war nor yet at law ought any man to use every way of escaping death.” Meaning that he would rather die being falsely accused than to live and conform to what his society thinks is okay. This event also characterizes Socrates as a brave man who stands by his words. An oracle describes Socrates as the most “wisest man”, which is ironic because Socrates declared himself as not wise during his search for a wiser man. When he would meet a person that other people during his time period thought of as wise, Socrates would question and analyze that person and realize that they’re not wise at all, but are merely people who take on the title of being wise. I believe that the oracle states that Socrates is the wisest man because Socrates is the only man who is humble and modest enough to believe that there is someone who is more wise than he is, despite him being adequately wise himself. By denying himself as being wise, Socrates emphasizes his thirst for knowledge.

    • Apryl Berney
    • October 5th, 2011


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