Last Days Of Socrates Essay

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The Last Days of Socrates

Plato. The Last Days of Socrates. London: Penguin Books Ltd., 1993

Imagine the time just after the death of Socrates. The people of Athens were filled with questions about the final judgment of this well-known, long-time citizen of Athens. Socrates was accused at the end of his life of impiety and corruption of youth. Rumors, prejudices, and questions flew about the town. Plato experienced this situation when Socrates, his teacher and friend, accepted the ruling of death from an Athenian court. In The Last Days of Socrates, Plato uses Socrates’ own voice to explain the reasons that Socrates, though innocent in Plato’s view, was convicted and why Socrates did not escape his punishment as offered by the
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At first, I was shocked to read this because it would seem that the rich could go unpunished for crimes. But then when I considered our court system in America, I discovered that we are not too much different even though we try to be totally fair. The wealthy, such as O.J. Simpson, can afford many lawyers at astronomical cost and, whether guilty or not, can almost ensure an acquittal.
In his writings, Plato wants to explain why Socrates accepted the penalty of death from the Athenian court. This is very important because Plato wanted Socrates to be seen in a positive, glorified light. In the public eye, why would Socrates be convicted if he were not guilty of failing to serve the gods and of swaying the youth? Also, why would he submit to the court’s ruling unless he thought he deserved the punishment? Not only the general public, but also Socrates’ followers and friends were concerned and wanted to know the answers to these questions. Thus, Plato writes about Socrates’ confusion about the charges about impiety, his defense, and his sense of duty to his city’s laws in a way that is designed to make Socrates seem appealing to the Athenian people. While accomplishing this goal, Plato almost defines the relationship between the individual and the society and the relation of state and religion.

The first topic discussed is Socrates’