“The Apology” by Plato In this reading Plato tells the story of Socrates and his trial which ultimately lead to his death sentence. Socrates was a 70 year old man at peace with his own mortality yet willing to face his accusers with an almost definite possibility of death to maintain his own integrity and beliefs and morality.
He fully understood from the beginning of his trial what the sentence handed down would be yet on a level of honor and courage not seen in abundance in modern society he maintained his stance and delivered a compelling and convincing argument. He openly stated that he knew his actions had offended Meletus and other self-described wise men yet thoroughly explained that he was compelled to do so by the Oracle. Through these actions he made many enemies along the way. He felt that the Oracle had informed him falsely stating he was the wisest of men.
His reaction to this was to search out all men he thought of as wise, such as politicians, artisans, as well as those whom just crossed his path yet had no reason to possess great wisdom. In the end he was able to prove his point though it remained a moot point to more than half the Athenians that handed down his sentence. Though he was not wrong in pursuing what he perceived as a mission from the Oracle, the act alone of humiliating these self-proclaimed great and wise men was enough to simply seal his fate.
Stating his opinion his actions and beliefs did not fit the form of society according to the Athenians who were in majority ruled by their fears of the consequence handed down for finding in favor of Socrates. I feel that Socrates choice to accept his punishment and die in defense of his beliefs was truly a courageous move on his part. While reading “The Apology” I felt a sense of pride along with sadness for Socrates. He made his defense and through it all maintained his self-honor, dignity and integrity.
I personally feel that though he made a great argument the power of a societal outlook along with the power of fear individuals such as Meletus were capable of instilling in the Athenians was by far, more damaging. He knew his fate from the beginning yet still stood his ground and made a very convincing argument. In today’s society there are individuals that depend on followers to conform to their beliefs and what they feel is right or wrong. We are currently a nation at war and have been for many years for different reasons. As a result of this, there is obviously diversity when it comes to civilian, political and military beliefs.
We have soldiers that are willing to fight and die for the country they believe in to show true faith and allegiance to their nation and its President, politicians that fight for their bills and laws to be passed, and citizens who choose every day to either support the war or question our involvement in it. People fight for animal rights, gay and lesbian marriage rights and so much more. All this said, Socrates stood up for what he believed in, in “The Apology” and in an essence to this day it can be compared to modern day society and individuals or groups standing up for what they believe in.
In conclusion, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, beliefs and moral values. Though there are rules and laws set forth by our government to maintain a sense of order and acceptable behavior. We as humans are compelled to defend our beliefs and accept the consequences set forth by our beliefs. I am a true believer that there will always be a little Socrates in all of us and at some point in our life we will all be faced with a life or death choice or decision to make along with the everyday choices and decisions we already make.