Plato's Criticism Of Socrates On Trial

Good Essays
In 399 B.C Socrates, a Greek Philosopher, had been sentenced to death after being found guilty to heresy and corrupting the minds of the young. This trial heavily depended on the unpopularity of Socrates, due to him having wounded the pride of many prominent men in Athens. Plato’s writings of Socrates on Trial displays Socrates’ criticism during his trial of both Athenian society and democracy by highlighting the biases of the people, and the flaws in the democracy of the time.

Socrates was a classical Greek Philosopher who lived from 469 to 399 B.C. He has been renowned throughout history for his contributions to the fields of ethics and epistemology, and is considered one of the founders of Western Philosophy. Throughout his life he taught
…show more content…
He focuses on societies biased and false opinions towards him as well as their preferences for those who have more desirable physical attributes. Socrates explains that those who do not like or agree with him were planted with their opinions from a young age, and there was nobody to defend his character to these people, so those who did the convincing had essentially won their argument by default. This is coupled with his accusation that many people have not even heard Socrates speak, rather they’ve been told of things he has said. These arguments, he believes, should debunk the unpopular opinions towards him as mainly untrue rumors, and is a criticism on societies tendency to form harsh opinions on unfavourable people. The satirical play, The Clouds, by Aristophanes had been popular at the time of the trial and may have been an effect on the perception of Socrates’ practices and character. He mentions the play during his defense speech, saying it paints him with a bad image; that his sole efforts are to corrupt the minds of the youth, and to speak nonsense. This depiction of him made him unfavourable during the time of the trial, and heightened the publics view of him as a burden on society as well as a nuisance to be rid …show more content…
He believes society is flawed because there is no understanding of true justice, and people are biased and hostile to those who appear to be different to them. The democracy has become a broken system due to the fact that they often elect officials who have no care for the government or the people they serve. Those who are chosen to serve in the government are only appointed due to their pleasing appearances and speeches. These criticisms together imply that there was a broken system in Ancient Athens, and Socrates became a sacrifice, having been given the

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    Socrates’ first offense is the corruption of the youth in Athenian culture. Socrates is guilty on this offense because of the way he treated and “taught” the young men. He told them to dress as Spartans and go against Athens at a time of war. His students, “... acted as if they were drunk…” (Nardo 9) He is explaining the effects that Socrates has had on his students and that they will do most anything he does. When Socrates does these things the…

    • 747 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    He also said, during his investigative philosophical debates, youthful Greek aristocrats witnessed the perceived wise man being examined and imitated Socrates. This in part and the fact that Socrates challenged the wisdom of poets, craftsmen and politicians resulted to rancorous alliance to halt his progress. Was Socrates a victim of political in-fighting then? The ideas, proceedings and ultimate judgement had a political hand all stemming from Socrates criticism to the political class, poets, and craftsmen through his philosophical engagements. Socrates was found guilty with a narrow margin, but his proposal for penalty added insult to injury.…

    • 740 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Athens on Trial In 399 BCE a grave mistake was made by Athens which will go down in history. It was the trial and execution of Socrates, a great and mysterious philosopher. Socrates was charged and found guilty for not worshiping the gods and corrupting the mind of the youth. Both off the charges are trumped up or not true at all because he believed i vn the Oracle of Delphi but did not agree with what it was saying and that he did not tell the kids to follow what he was doing, they did it on their own free will. Socrates was executed because, after the Peloponnesian war, athenians were very paranoid so the blame was shifted to Socrates, He was seen as an outsider because of his axil ideas that contrasted with athens’ perennial based society, and the charges he was facing were inaccurate.…

    • 825 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    “When we know that those in power are morally wrong, do we break their laws, or do we collaborate with them by obeying?” (690). In Antigone, by Sophocles, free will and morals go against the established law and authority. Sophocles tells of the struggles of Antigone with the King of Thebes, Creon. Creon places a law that goes against the divine law of the gods, and Antigone obeys the divine law instead of listening to Creon and suffers unfair consequences because of his hubris. Creon’s arrogance causes most of his family’s deaths because they all feel betrayed.…

    • 1160 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The perceived reality of Meletus, twisted by his hatred and pride, make him vulnerable to the verbal attacks of Socrates. His anger blinds him to pitfalls and makes him reckless in an attempt to hurt and convict Socrates. Just as pride made Meletus perceive the atmosphere of the argument differently, his anger made Meletus a poor debater against Socrates and Socrates takes full advantage of this and launches into a long discourse about his reasoning. Meletus is rather powerless against him because he had been beaten by Socrates and has no rebuttal against his…

    • 769 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    In Plato’s, The Trials and Death of Socrates, Socrates is the ultimate cause of his own death because of not conforming to the democracy of the Athenians and corrupting the young. Socrates was a wise philosopher of his time and was in search of the truth, rather than believing in the Athenians Gods. Nevertheless, it was more than just a simple search for Socrates. His search for the truth turned into a complex journey to where the answer of true wisdom leads Socrates to be brought up on charges of corrupting society. He taught his philosophy of life on the streets to anyone who cared to listen.…

    • 1031 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    According to Socrates, most Athenian trials consisted of the accuser bringing forth his “his children and many of his friends and family into the court to arouse as much pity as he could” (34c). To Socrates, this practice of gaining sympathy in order to better one’s chances of acquittal was immoral, as it spoiled the credibility of the law. Socrates states that in doing this, “these men bring shame upon the city” (35b). This is shameful because the men are attempting to supplant the word of the law with sympathy gained from these actions. Socrates mostly questions those who allow this act to influence their role as juror as he states, “It is not the purpose of a juryman’s office to give justice as a favor to whoever seems good to him, but to judge according to law, and this he has sworn to do.…

    • 1313 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Submerged in his disgust of greed and corruption Socrates sets out to find the “wise ones” but in the process ends up exposing the highly respected yet selfish members of the society. In his interviews Socrates asked questions that made his subjects feel insecure and exposed, but even though his so called interviews made him unpopular Socrates believed it to be his responsibility to “expose the frailty in human nature” (Plato). Socrates’ idea of political ethics is similar to that of Rousseau’s as both believed that the lust for power has led to corruption that should be exposed and fixed. I agree that the lust for power and corruption had distorted ethics and made them tools for manipulative leaders but I…

    • 1706 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    During the trial, Socrates talks about an older allegation and a more recent accusation made against him. Socrates explains his unpopularity among some segments of the Athenian society is because lately prosecutors claim, “Socrates is a doer of evil, who corrupts the youth; and who does not believe in the gods of the state, but has other new divinities of his own” (Plato 7). His persuasive speaking is what puts forward the whole truth in his defense. For example, Socrates calls attention to these false charges that prosecutors have slandered his name throughout the years. However, Socrates’ basic message to the people of Athens is to understand the importance of virtue and wisdom.…

    • 707 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    “If, in claiming that he is innocent of the charge, Socrates does tell the truth, then those jurors who thereupon convict him of impiety and corruption, and subsequently sentence him to death, have failed in their duty to judge rightly” (Blyth 1). The jury consisted of many sophists, and their hatred of Socrates and his actions might have misguided their judgment in sentencing Socrates correctly. Socrates was trying to prove that his allegations were charged against him not because they were true, but because they were tired of his antics and wanted him gone. Many people had said that they just wanted him gone, but if he was telling the truth he proved that he should not die for what they charged him for. “The possibility thus emerges that Socrates has treated the legal proceedings all along as a moral test, or trial, of the empaneled jurors themselves, to see whether they are capable of the legal function to which they have been allotted” (Blyth 2).…

    • 1441 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays