Socates V. Perpetua Essay

1775 Words Apr 1st, 2014 8 Pages
The Death of Socrates vs. The Death of Perpetua
Civil disobedience has been a common element in human behavior. From the time of antiquity to the present, people lash out in various ways against standards that society has placed upon citizens. Two ancient examples of disobedient actions come from different ages revered for standards that hold today and provide a basis for modern law; the Greek and ancient Roman empires. From the Greeks, we have come to know the story of Socrates as memorialized by Plato, and the Roman age was the time of Perpetua, an early Christian woman. The fate of those individuals is the same – a death sentence handed down by the society they lived in. Although the conclusion of their respective lives is the same,
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Throughout the narrative of Perpetua, it is very evident she is Christian. Her reverences for Christian notions of God are her reasons for being in prison. Those beliefs are her solace while in confinement with her death pending and they are the standards that she lives her life by as well. Especially after Perpetua had her first vision, where she stepped on an enormous dragon and climbed upwards through a ladder full of weapons alongside leading to a marvelous garden that she realized “it was to be a passion, and we ceased henceforth to have any hope in this world”. It is clearly indicated that there is no other way to live in true happiness but to sacrifice human life to reunite with God in the spiritual world. At no point in the Passion does she exhort the state like Socrates. To Perpetua, the state is merely a physical imprisonment that sentenced her because the only authority she answers to is God. Aspects of her confinement parallel that of Socrates. Mainly in that of a loved one, Perpetua’s father pleaded for her to leave the prison by begging her repeatedly to “have pity on your father”…“have regard to your brothers…Lay aside your courage and do not bring us all to destruction”, much like Crito’s attempts to have Socrates escape. However, Perpetua’s way out could be differed from Socrates, in that her potential freedom would have been through legal means only if she accepts to renounce her faith.

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