[Solved] reaction to the apology by plato

Reaction to “The Apology” by Plato

            “The Apology” by Plato has a significant and direct bearing on modern Western Civilization because it places virtue and honor on a pedestal and urges men to live righteously and be willing to die for the sake of righteousness if necessary.  Successful western countries like the United States are not perfect, but history will show that we have acted honorably and wisely in most cases and that we have attempted to help ourselves and our allies in times of crisis and need.

Like the accused, Socrates, derision will not cause the strong and righteous to waver from their benevolent and just principles.  Socrates stood firm and brave despite accusations and “persuasive words (that) almost made me forget who I was.”  In the face of stifling criticism, he relied on “the force of truth,” and declared to his accusers and peers that they “shall hear from me the whole truth” and to “let the judge decide justly and the speaker speak truly.”  Even though he knew that the injustice of his flawed trial would likely lead to his prompt death, Socrates did not waver or shrink from his honor or his principles.

Our modern justice system that relies on a presumption of innocence and the right of the accused to directly face his accusers is dealt with in “The Apology.”  Slander and libel are now serious crimes and hearsay evidence is disallowed in modern western courts.  Unlike Socrates’ accusers who were short on evidence but long on envy and malice, today’s accusers must be armed with convincing evidence and facts to convict a defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.  Socrates was not afforded this right in his trial as he stated, “I cannot have them up here, and examine them, and therefore I must simply fight with shadows in my own defence, and examine when there is no one who answers.”  In the absence of compelling evidence, he was unjustly disadvantaged in his defense.

            Socrates embraced humility and wisdom and mocked the false wisdom of his accusers.  Despite his eloquence, verbosity and wisdom, Socrates was willing to publicly admit that he had human frailty and limitations.  He stated that “I am better off than he is — for he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know.”  He also believed in a power higher than himself as do the majority of modern western people.  He firmly exclaimed that “God only is wise; and in this oracle he means to say that the wisdom of men is little or nothing.”

            Western civilizations have relied on citizens and military forces that act for righteous causes and always exuded a sense of bravery and honor.  We prefer peaceful solutions, but we are willing to sacrifice and die for just causes.  As Socrates put it, “a man who is good for anything ought not to calculate the chance of living or dying; he ought only to consider whether in doing anything he is doing right or wrong — acting the part of a good man or of a bad.”  Like honorable soldiers who are willing to lay down their lives for their country, Socrates stated that “I have been always the same in all my actions, public as well as private.”

            Facing death as his punishment, Socrates did not shrink from his honor or his principles.  He urged his accusers and punishers to “look to (themselves) and seek virtue and wisdom.”  He faced his doomed plight with grace and dignity and without hate and malice.  In that stance, he proudly stated that “I would rather die having spoken after my manner, than speak in your manner and live.”  He was confident that “no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.”

 

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