Answer to Question #172097 in History for Feby Abraham

Question #172097

From Plato's Apology and Clouds by Aristophanes. Write Socrates’ eulogy. (300 words. )

Expert's answer

The Apology is Plato's account of Socrates' speech at his tribunal, in which he is accused of not honouring the gods acknowledged by the state, inventing new deities, and corrupting Athens' youth. If Socrates honestly said at his trial that he should be granted honorary banquets for life at the Prytaneion, it will be the most outrageous reaction to a period in Attic forensic oratory. If Socrates actually did propose this during his trial, it will be both a political and a religious gesture. By demonstrating his impiety, he will be protecting his piety. Socrates justifies himself by claiming that the Oracle of Delphi predicted that he will be a wise man. He claims his divine mission is to challenge people because of the prophecy. He believes that through asking, he will be able to differentiate between real and false wisdom. If Socrates said this at his sentencing, he almost certainly sealed his fate. That would clarify why, even if the guilty margin was so slim that a mere thirty votes out of 501 may have acquitted Socrates, the vote to sentence him to death was far higher. Why will Plato send these terms to Socrates to tell if he did not say so at his trial? Was Plato trying to say that the prosecution wasn't just about piety at all and that it shouldn't be taken seriously like the counter-penalty? Is this what Socrates might have said anyway, knowing that he was going to die? Or does Plato plan to point the finger at Aristophanes both directly and indirectly in the beginning and end of the dialogue? Socrates may have been found guilty of the charges against him if an open-minded and diligent judge of the jury had concluded that he faced a serious danger to the city. Socrates did, in a sense, refuse to remember the gods accepted by the people, he did add new gods, and he did corrupt the youth who gathered around him by telling them these things.

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