The Unjust Prosecution Of Socrates - Ave Maria University, Western Civilization Honors, Sugrue - Short Essay On Trial Of Socrates

548 words - 3 pages

Western Civilization Honors
17 October 2017
The Unjust Prosecution of Socrates
In 399 BC, Socrates, arguably the founder of western philosophy, was put on trial by the
Greek Assembly. He was accused of impiety against the gods of Athens and corrupting the youth
of the city. Socrates is well-known for questioning every detail of every argument. Indeed, he
was a social gadfly, a term he created himself that means a person who upsets the status quo by
posing disconcerting questions. Naturally, many people found him troublesome and arrogant
when in fact, he was the first to admit that he knew nothing and neither did anyone else. His trial
and the accusations made against him were merely a rationalization by his enemies to invalidate
him and his philosophical beliefs.
In 423 BC, celebrated playwright, Aristophanes, wrote a comedic play entitled The
Clouds in which he slanders Socrates and falsely represents him as a sophist claiming he is
corrupting the youth of the city for his own benefit. This defamation greatly affected how the
public perceived Socrates. From then on, they believed that Socrates embodied the destruction of
society because of his contempt for traditions. Moreover, everyone regarded Socrates as
conceited, thinking he was superior to all other men. In Plato’s Apology, written by Socrates’
student, Socrates says, “I thought to myself: I am wiser than this man; neither of us probably
knows anything that is really good, but he thinks he has knowledge, when he has not, while I,
having no knowledge, do not think I have.” (22d). Granted, Socrates did state that he was wiser 1
than other men, ...

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