Platos Apology, Summary, Main Characters

750 WordsApr 4, 20133 Pages
Socrates - The protagonist of The Apology, as well as all of Plato 's other dialogues. Socrates seems to be a very simple man, not having many material possessions and speaking in a plain, conversational manner. However, this seeming plainness is all a part of the ironic characteristic of Socrates ' method. Professing his own ignorance, he engages in conversation with someone claiming to be an expert, usually in ethical matters. By asking simple questions, Socrates gradually reveals that his interlocutor is in fact very confused and does not actually know anything about the matters about which he claimed to be an expert. The quest for wisdom and the instruction of others through dialogue and inquiry were considered by Socrates to be the…show more content…
For the most part, Socrates speaks in a very plain, conversational manner. He explains that he has no experience with the law courts and that he will instead speak in the manner to which he is accustomed: with honesty and directness. He explains that his behavior stems from a prophecy by the oracle at Delphi which claimed that he was the wisest of all men. Recognizing his ignorance in most worldly affairs, Socrates concluded that he must be wiser than other men only in that he knows that he knows nothing. In order to spread this peculiar wisdom, Socrates explains that he considered it his duty to question supposed "wise" men and to expose their false wisdom as ignorance. These activities earned him much admiration amongst the youth of Athens, but much hatred and anger from the people he embarrassed. He cites their contempt as the reason for his being put on trial. Socrates then proceeds to interrogate Meletus, the man primarily responsible for bringing Socrates before the jury. This is the only instance in The Apology of the elenchus, or cross-examination, which is so central to most Platonic dialogues. His conversation with Meletus, however, is a poor example of this method, as it seems more directed toward embarrassing Meletus than toward arriving at the truth. In a famous passage, Socrates likens himself to a gadfly stinging the lazy horse which is the Athenian state. Without him, Socrates claims, the state is liable to drift into a

More about Platos Apology, Summary, Main Characters

Open Document