Comparing Plato 's Apology And The Greek Democracy Essay

2074 Words Oct 13th, 2014 9 Pages
Do not be vexed with me when I speak the truth. For there is no human being who will preserve his life if he genuinely opposes either you or any other multitude and prevents many unjust and unlawful things from happening in the city. Rather, if someone who really fights for the just is going to preserve himself even for a short time, it is necessary for him to lead a private rather than public life. (Apology 31e-32a) The year is 399 B.C.E the stage is Athens and these are the words that famed philosopher Socrates spoke as he stood in an Athenian court room accused of corrupting the youth of the city, of not believing in the gods and introducing new gods, and of making the weaker argument appear stronger. In Plato’s apology, these words serve as both Socrates’ defense against his charges and as an introduction to his critique of the Greek democracy. This quote immediately suggests that the democratic body he is addressing does not fall into the category of humans that he is describing. This is troubling for several reasons. Firstly because what he is describing is precisely the function of any democratic body. Secondly, it begs the question: If state sanctioned democratic bodies, such as juries, do not prevent “many unjust and unlawful things from happening in the city” nor “really fights for justice”, what purpose do they serve? In this dialogue, he uses logic and deductive reasoning in an attempt to persuade the jury of his innocence and sway them toward acquittal. He…

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