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Plato's Apology How Socrates Was A Negative Effect On Athens

1232 words - 5 pages

ApologyIn Plato's Apology, Socrates is on trial for subverting the minds of Athens' youth and not believing in its gods. The text is Plato's rendition of Socrates' defense of his alleged crimes, and his reasoning for why the allegations were placed in the first place. While many claim that Socrates was wrongly tried for trumped up charges, one must examine whether or not he was truly innocent of the root of his alleged crimes: harming the citizens of Athens in his quest to find wisdom. Socrates claims that he alone is truly helping the citizens of Athens, by showing them that they are ignorant of their own ignorance. He argues that by showing people how ignorant they truly are, they will ...view middle of the document...

The idea that there is only one way about a problem is in and of itself ignorant. Socrates most likely did more to postpone the development of free thought and the challenging of preexisting ideas than good, because he made philosophers out to be enemies of society, serving only to spread foul ideas amongst easily subverted minds. Had he not been lucky enough to encounter and have the opportunity to teach someone like Plato to carry on his message, he could have prevented likeminded thinkers from acting on their ideas for generations. Rather than become a true teacher to Athens, Socrates damned himself to be a radical in the eyes of the government. The reason that Socrates was held trial was because of the unrest he was causing, for if he was peacefully spreading his message no one would have been offended enough to try him. His defenders nowadays say that only a few upset people in power wanted him killed, but that was only because those were the people he started his message with. The fact that he was brought to trial alone is testament to the error of his ways. Had he been allowed to continue his message as he had been, the only result would have been more and more offended citizens, not the enlightenment he was trying to spread. In reality, Meletus and the other citizens responsible for Socrates' trial and death sentence actually saved his message through martyrdom before he could finish his mission and offend the rest of Athens. For if he had, his message would have been tarnished along with his name, rather than both being immortalized. Not only was Socrates guilty of harming the mental and emotional stability of Athens' citizens, he also managed to undermine the citizens' faith in their leaders. By pointing out the "ignorance" of Athens' politicians, poets, and artisans, Socrates ruined their credibility in the eyes of the common man. In order for society to function, the government and leaders must have the trust and faith of the common man, and Socrates ruined that by ridiculing them publicly. While he was trying to unite Athens under the banner of wisdom and free thought, Socrates only succeeded in undermining the people's faith in their leaders, causing a potentially dangerous unrest that threatened the safety and well-being of the city-state. Socrates is building himself up to be...

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