Society's Interpretation In The Bet By Anton Chekhov

Superior Essays
In high school, I read a short story called The Bet by Anton Chekhov. The story was about a young lawyer who made a bet with a banker that imprisonment for fifteen years was better than the death penalty. Like Socrates in Plato’s Crito the lawyer was trying to contest society’s beliefs. While in confinement the lawyer reads many books, whose topics ranged from languages to philosophy. After fifteen years of solitary confinement the lawyer rejects his prize money and defaults on the bet, just hours before winning. I wonder if the man had read the Crito. We can reason that Socrates’ philosophy could have inspired the man to decide the more brash choice and try to teach his accusers a lesson. The man may have decided to default on the bet when …show more content…
Socrates’ most palpable reasoning for this principle is that the many found him guilty even though he thinks he’s innocent. The judgement of the many is degraded in Socrates’ mind after they convict him. Another motive for Socrates to dismiss the opinion of the many is because he likes to consult experts. Socrates believes that no one should claim knowledge over anything that they are not experts on. This is seen in Plato’s Symposium when Socrates says “how ridiculous I’d been to agree to join you in praising Love and to say that I was a master of the art of love, when I knew nothing whatever of this business, of how anything whatever ought to be praised” (Sym. 198c7-198d3). This shows that Socrates’ dismissal of the opinion of the many is not unfounded and is supported through reasoning and experience. The polis or laws care deeply for the opinion of the many. If the laws are not supported by the many they are difficult to enforce. While the laws think that it’s right for Socrates to die because the many have voted for this action Socrates believes it is right to die because the opinion of the many is …show more content…
Once again this is something that is easily derived from the second and third principles. If Socrates appraises that justice is worth dying for then it can be said justice is the only consideration to take into account when assessing whether or not to live. Although laws tend to strive for justice they are not always just. Instead laws rank prosperity, appearance, and popular opinion above justice. The laws serve the people and most people rank prosperity and appearance above justice. This is seen when more people vote for Socrates to be put to death than the actual number of people who found him guilty. The people’s image was tarnished when Socrates delivers an offensive but truthful counter proposal after his sentencing. The many decide to put him to death as punishment, but punishment is not justice. Punishment is vengeance whereas justice seeks

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