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Honor for Socrates

November 4, 2010

Life is so precious and can only be lived once. Almost no one actually wants to die rather than live, but when Socrates is put in an ideal position for someone who is in prison, he is provided with a chance to escape. However, he passes up that opportunity and continues to await his death. Some people may say he is dumb or he lost his mind, but those people are wrong. Socrates, such a wise man, knew exactly what he was doing and why he was doing it. When looking back at his trial and everything leading up to it many contradictions are found within Socrates actions and words. However, those contradictions don’t matter. Socrates wants to show Athens they are wrong, not that he is right or his solutions are right. Socrates feels laws are unjust and need to be changed. I believe he doesn’t care exactly how they are changed, just as long as the problems go away after the change. Socrates knows full well there is a good chance he will be put on trial and sentenced to death if he breaks the laws of worshipping other gods and “corrupting the youth.” However, his goal is to exploit these problems and the best way to do that is through demonstration. Once put on trial, he knows his punishment will be death. He formulates arguments which don’t make much sense when lined up side by side, but Socrates isn’t trying to be let free. He wants to be “punished” and then accept the “punishment”. Socrates knows the only way Athens will see they are wrong is if they watch him die and realize the punishment did not fit the crime, and in fact there was actually no crime committed at all. However, had he escaped, nothing would be proven because people would just think, “If I break those same laws then I can escape from prison too.” This is why Socrates must die. Furthermore, Socrates dies with honor. A soldier is willing to give his/her life for their country and when they die they die honorably. Socrates does the same thing, he dies for something he believes in, and dies for his country in the attempts to better it. Socrates died with honor, he is not a fool.

6 Comments
  1. Andrew Berman permalink
    November 4, 2010 3:15 PM

    The line “Socrates wants to show Athens they are wrong, not that he is right or his solutions are right. ” really speaks to his character. In the comedy “The Clouds” written by Aristophanes, he mocks Socrates’ character. One thing he continuously mocks is the fact that Socrates will come up with farfetched solutions to disprove everyone else. He isnt concerned with being right, rather disproving everyone else. That is why I agree with you saying that Socrates doesnt want to spread his ideas, rather disprove Athens’.

  2. britneyrupley permalink
    November 4, 2010 3:44 PM

    I agree with what you are saying. I think the Socrates is the the ultimate example of a martyr, dying for his cause. Like, you stated, if Socrates would have escaped, nothing would have been proven. Though, he didn’t escape and died for what he believed in. Being a martyr, and dying in such a dramatic way, has allowed Socrates’ views to transcend his death and be carried on. Thats why Socrates views are still being taught today. If Socrates escaped and lived, we may have not even known his name today in 2010.

  3. Stephanie Priel permalink
    November 4, 2010 7:38 PM

    I think that your claim that Socrates doesn’t escape because he wants to disprove Athens is extremely valid. But I also think that an equally important reason to mention why Socrates does not choose to escape is because he recognizes that if he were to flee to another state he would always be looked down upon, and not be able to express and spread his beliefs.

  4. Nick Weeks permalink
    November 5, 2010 12:09 AM

    Maybe Socrates does not want to prove the Athenians wrong. In is dialogue with Crito, he talks uses the Socratic method upon himself, and reaches the conclusion that he must choose to stay, in order to not do harm which he did not want to do. With his conclusion that the laws were right and in his last examination of them he found them to be correct. Thus, Socrates used his own method and eventually realize the Athenians were enforcing their laws in a way they saw fit in their own search for truth. Therefore Socrates could have also agreed with this and thus stayed.

  5. ann900 permalink
    November 6, 2010 1:02 AM

    I agree with what you are saying in that Socrates died with honor. He stood up for what he believed in and chose to not take the easy way out. He made a statement; proving that you should not take the option out when you have been accused of wrongdoing. But in trying to prove them wrong, wouldn’t he have to prove himself right in some way? Whether that way be in what he did to deserve jail time in the first place was right or that what he was doing by staying in jail rather then taking the escape route was right. There is no way for him to prove them wrong but not prove himself right in some way.

  6. yequan permalink
    November 7, 2010 12:24 AM

    I may not like Socrates, but I must say I admire his actions to some extend. Socrates refused to stop conducting philosophy while he was facing the threat of death. He made his life worthy living as he pursued “good life” he thought.
    Socrates might not be rational enough to try his best to avoid death, he was consistent about his faith. That is remarkable.

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