Difference Between The Apology Of Plato And Xenophon

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The Apologies of Plato and Xenophon have many differing aspects that greatly impact their retellings of Socrates’ trial. In particular, the two interpretations of Socrates’ daimon alter the two works in many ways. Not only does it change Socrates’ defense itself it also changes how Socrates views death. Therefore, the most important difference between the Apologies of Plato and Xenophon is in how the two works view Socrates’ daimon. In Plato the daimon is viewed as a voice which “…ἀεὶ ἀποτρέπει με τοῦτο ὃ ἂν μέλλω πράττειν, προτρέπει δὲ οὔποτε” (Plato. 31d). Plato’s version of the daimon, although still divine in origin, seems more internal, as if it were conscience rather than the voice of a god. The description of the daimon in Plato …show more content…
40a-b). Socrates clearly knows that his combative defense would not help him receive an acquittal; near the end of his speech he states that the lack of pandering to the jury in his speech resulted in his conviction (Plato. 38-d-e). Yet he uses the logic that his daimon remained silent to validate his belief that he defended himself in the proper way. In his mind, if there had been a more appropriate way to defend himself, Socrates’ daimon would have warned him away from the defense he employed. This type of thinking puts Socrates’ view of death into a unique perspective because he validates his assumption that death has to be a good thing, otherwise his daimon would have steered him a different direction. With the daimon’s assurance that he followed the right path, Socrates can safely assume that death is seen as a good thing’ either because he would have found peace in nothingness or he would have been able to continue his “mission” of bothering people in the afterlife (Plato). Although he was condemned, Socrates uses his daimon’s guidance to legitimize his actions in life because it endorsed a potential afterlife of similar actions. Choosing to emphasize this aspect near the end of the speech indicates an attempt to show the injustice of Socrates’ death because he was he was convicted in large part because of actions that the gods deemed …show more content…
This is much more fitting for the reason why Socrates views his death as favorable in this work. In this work, Socrates is happy to go to his death at a time when he “….χαλεπῶν προσδοκωμένων καταλύω τὸν βίον” (Xenophon. 27), which is a much more personally focused reason than what the reader sees in Plato. Socrates says little regarding the will of the gods in this section; in fact it is the narrator who remarks on the divine, by informing the reader that Socrates’ end showed the favor of the gods because he was able to escape the worst of life’s troubles (Xenophon. 32). Without the daimon directly connecting this section to the gods it is only reasonable that Socrates’ reasons for viewing death in such a positive manner are centered more personally. This distinction subtlety shifts the meaning of Xenophon’s work because there is little sense of Socrates’ mission of bothering the Athenian people in order to improve them, so that this work lacks the condemnation of the jurors who voted against Socrates and instead focuses on consoling his followers. The two depiction of Socrates’ daimon in Plato and Xenophon’s Apologies add different layers of meaning to the two works. The actual description of the daimon and its relation to the gods influences how Socrates’ defense is perceived. The daimons of these works also impact Socrates’ view of death and therefore how the reader

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