The Apology: The Understanding of the Soul in Life and Death Essay

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Four main themes are the most important in the assigned section of The Apology. I will begin with a brief synopsis of each major theme, with an analysis and my opinion following, and ending with the question of Socrates' own death.

Firstly, Plato introduces the important concept that it is far worse for one to do wrong than to suffer wrongdoing. Socrates, refusing to be harmed by Meletus, believes that “it is not allowed that a good man be injured by a worse” (pg. 41). Despite Socrates' impending death or banishment, he does not think that these are the worst possible situations and still goes on to say that “it is a much greater evil to do what [Meletus] is doing now, and to try to put a man to death unjustly” (pg. 41). Certainly
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If we believe that the one who does good for one's soul participates in a life of true happiness, then Socrates is correct. By harming others, we are truly harming ourselves, destroying our chances for happiness and the good. It is an interesting point, however, that although Socrates claims that no one knowingly does wrong, is he not crediting his accusers, such as Meletus, with the evil intention of trying to unjustly put Socrates to death?

Secondly, the notion of the gadfly and the horse compared to Socrates' duty as a philosopher to the state is an important metaphor in understanding Socrates' philosophical lifestyle. Socrates “clings to the state as a sort of gadfly to a horse...that needs to be aroused” (pg. 41). Socrates, questioning and probing for knowledge, arouses the “polis”. The citizens, “indignant, as drowsy persons are when they are awakened” (pg. 41) are ignorant without Socrates dialectic method. This philosophical way of living, questioning and interrogating similar to how a gadfly might irritate a horse, has caused Socrates to neglect his own personal life in search of human excellence.

Socrates, always depicted as searching for the answer of the good, uses dialectic to probe for knowledge and virtue. Through the use of questioning, Socrates disturbs the citizens into thought and the pursuit of the good. Like a gadfly, although annoying,

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