Essay about Socrates vs Gilgamesh

1173 Words Sep 30th, 2011 5 Pages
Joe Arce 19 Sept 2011 Socrates Vs. Gilgamesh Socrates’ view of death in the Phaedo, Crito, and Apology is complex. His argument tries to prove that philosophers, of all people, are in the best state to die or will be in the best state after life because of the life they lead. Socrates’ views are sharply contrasted in The Epic of Gilgamesh. In fact, he would probably say that Gilgamesh had not lived the proper kind of life and his views of life, and death would lead to an unsettled existence in the afterlife. Socrates’ view of death, from his opinions on the act of dying, the state of the soul after death, and the fear of death, differs from that of The Epic of Gilgamesh to the extent that Socrates would refute every belief about death …show more content…
Enkidu’s death is the consequence of insulting the Gods. Socrates would disagree with the belief that death is a punishment from the Gods for several reasons. In the Phaedo, he claims that the true lover of wisdom, that is the philosopher, “must escape from the body and observe matters in themselves with the soul by itself” (Plato 103). So, since death is the separation of the soul from the body, only at death can we gain true wisdom. He says, “Wisdom itself is a kind of cleansing . . . he who arrives [in the underworld] purified and initiated will dwell with the gods” (Plato 106). Evidently, if the soul can only attain wisdom from death and if that wisdom leads to purification, which assures you a place with the gods, then Socrates would disagree with The Epic of Gilgamesh that death is a punishment from the gods. This evidence leads us to a look at the contrasting views of an afterlife. In the Phaedo, Socrates explains how the soul exists in the afterlife through the use of two main theories, the theory of opposites and the theory of recollection. It is important to note that he also draws a connection between the soul and wisdom as a rationalization for his belief in an afterlife, saying, “When the soul investigates by itself it passes into the realm of what is pure, ever existing, immortal and unchanging . . . its experience then is what we call wisdom” (Plato 118). By relating the two he can

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