Classical Essay

780 Words Mar 12th, 2014 4 Pages
CLASS 1110 Second Paper Assignment
Shonell Maynard

In the books; The Clouds written by Aristophanes, and The Apology, written by Plato, the philosopher Socrates is portrayed in two different ways. Plato, being a loyal follower of Socrates, portrays him as being a very simple man who is always open to learning new wisdom. However, Aristophanes portrays him as an atheist who practices sophistry along with a number of different crimes. People question whether or not Plato exaggerated the character of Socrates in an effort to gain sympathy for him, while others question if Aristophanes wrote the book The Clouds to slander Socrates’ character.
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Sadly, by doing so, Socrates is badly portrayed; which causes other people to misjudge and accuse him of serious crimes. In The Apology, Socrates’ character is totally different from what Aristophanes described him to be. He seems to be a very ethical man who strongly believes in morality, and is always striving to learn more. By doing so, he uses the Socratic dialogue; a method of constantly asking questions to gain more knowledge. Because of his method of question and answer, Socrates believed that he was not favored by majority of the people of Athens, stating “I am very unpopular with many people.” (The Apology: 28: B) Although Socrates knew that he would be tried guilty, he wanted to obey the law by defending himself. He strongly believed that if a person makes an agreement, then they are obligated to follow that agreement at all times, therefore the people of Athens should always follow the law. The fact that Socrates refused to break out of jail, showed the type of moral man he was. He knew that it would set a bad example for his children, and disagreed with the idea of breaking the law. Socrates argues that a person who defies the law is an enemy of their own state and if someone disagrees with the law, they should either fight for a change, or leave the state. “Moreover, I think you are betraying your sons by going away and leaving them, when you could bring them up and educate them.” (The Apology: 45: C) Crito explains to Socrates that it is
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