Analysis Of Socrates: A Man Of Contradiction

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Socrates: A Man of Contradiction

Even the wisest of men tend to make bad decisions when they are backed into a corner,

with no place to turn. In the case of Socrates, however, his beliefs ran true until he was put to

death. When given the opportunity to escape his fate, Socrates chose to remain in jail and

receive the punishment handed down by the courts. Although Socrates truly believed in his own

innocence, to remain in jail was the only action he could take, in order to be just to himself, the

courts, and the gods.

According to Plato, if ever a just man lived, that man would be Socrates. Although he

claimed to not be a wise man, Socrates may have truly been the wisest of them all. Throughout

his life, Socrates followed
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Whether Socrates truly believed that death would be a far better experience that living

the remainder of his life in exile, or whether he did not know what to expect from the afterlife, he

truly seemed never to waiver in his devotion to the gods and in his belief that it is wrong to fear

death over doing what is just. He said it all when he stated in Crito, that if his death pleases the

gods, than it shall be.

In conclusion, not all of Socrates’ reasons for remaining in jail and not escaping his death

appear to be just. Although his belief that it was the will of the gods for him to die rather than

live a life of exile seems to be genuine, his claim that it is unjust to disobey the laws of the courts

and the city is not just in its reasoning. His constant contradictions throughout his life regarding

when one should and should not obey the laws, based on what is just and what is unjust,

invalidates this as a possible reason for facing his death. It appears that one must go back to his

conversation with Euthyphro, and explore the possibility that it may simply be impossible to

determine what is just and pious, and what is

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