Platos Apology In The Apology Socrates makes a speech in defense of himself. During the course of that speech he presents himself to the men of the jury in two different ways. In the beginning of the speech he presents himself humbly. As the speech goes on he begins to show himself as more and more important. This sense of importance is who he really is. He perceives himself to be an important man.
His students also perceive him to be important, otherwise why would one of his students have even bothered to write this book chronicling his last speech.Finally, history has also judged him as an important figure. In the beginning of The Apology Socrates starts by telling the men of the jury that he is not a good speaker. He goes on at some length comparing the speech he is about to give to the speeches that have been given by his accusers. He makes a point of letting the jury know that he has not had any time to prepare his speech, unlike his accusers. He asks the jury to forgive him for speaking plainly and sometimes slipping into a conversational style. This is a sharp contrast to the ornate speaking style of his accusers. In addition to letting the men of the jury know that he is not a good speaker, he also lets the jury know that this is his first time speaking in a court of law.
These two things will hopefully buy Socrates some leeway in the court and make the men of the jury more receptive to the things that he says. He also makes mention at this juncture about how flowering speech is not befitting to a man of his age. This perhaps is a way to remind the men of the jury that he is an older man, and the he should be respected. Even failing that some of the jurors may have simply felt pity on him for being on trial at such an age. This rhetorical tactic is brilliant. First of all it an interesting strategic move on the part of Socrates.
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He claims not be ably to use rhetoric, even though he is ably using it to defend himself. Allowing himself to address the jury in a casual manner also gives him the opportunity to give them the impression that he is speaking to them on a one to one basis, rather than spouting a rote speech at them. This passage allows Socrates to appear to be a humble man; a man who hopefully the jury would not feel was capable of any wrongdoing. Another purpose this introduction serves is to placate those who think ill of him. It gives then a way to feel superior to him. It is ways to give them a small victory, in order to hopefully gain a larger one. It will help to keep their minds open to what Socrates has to say without admitting any guilt. One final added bonus is that this tactic sets the bar low.
Those people who are unimpressed with his tactics will not think him boastful, but those who are will be surprised by his speech. This introduction allows Socrates to not have to say that he is clever, while setting him up to prove later on that he is in fact a clever man and a good speaker. Finally by acting in a humble manner and trying to appear like a person who would not want to offend he is helping his case on corrupting the youth of Athens. It is a lot harder to believe that a man who is proud, arrogant and boastful is corrupting others than in it is a man who comes off a pleasant and humble. Later on in the speech Socrates explains how he got a reputation for being wise. He tells the men of the jury a story.
This story involves his friend, Chaerephon, who has taken a trip to the town of Delphi. The town of Delphi is renowned for its oracle of Apollo. When Chaerephon goes to the oracle he asks her if anyone is wiser than Socrates. The oracle replies that not, no one is wiser. This story is an excellent tool for Socrates in two ways. Firstly it allows Socrates to prove himself to be important, without actually have to say that he is important.
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The oracle at Delphi, who cannot be wrong, has said that he is the wisest man. If the oracle says it, then it must be so. Also the god Apollo sanctions the oracle. Those men on the jury who are pious, or those who for political reasons must appear to be pious will have a hard time voting against him. Apollo has sanctioned Socrates and his messages, and to go against him would be to make a potential enemy of a god. Also this statement, and the obvious implications that it has about Socrates belief in the divinity of the gods will help to negate his accusers case that he is not a believe in the system of the gods. If Socrates believes in the oracle from Delphi, then he must believe in the god who gave her the power.
Overall this story is powerful because it aids Socrates case in so many ways simultaneously, and puts him in a position where he should not have to defend his belief in the gods through direct evidence. It also has the added bonus of mystery. In the days before instant communication like telephones and e-mail the only way to validate or disprove the story would be to stop the trial and actually go to the oracle. This is of course assuming that Chaerephon is not present at the trial, which we have no evidence of in the text as his presence is not mentioned. Socrates then switches back into the placating and self-deprecating mode. He explains to the men of the jury how he was stunned by this news.
He has no clue how he could be the wisest man. After some though he decides that he must be the wisest man, not because he has any important knowledge but because he has the clarity of mind to know that he is not that knowledgeable. He deduces that his true wisdom then must lie in his ability to question others who think that they have wisdom. This message is important. It allows Socrates to show himself still as a humble man, while giving the men of the jury the potential to see how the oracles proclamation may be right. His job is to question those who think that they know all, in order to actually advance knowledge. The only way fro him to be able to do this is if Socrates himself has the clarity of mind to understand that he does not know much at all himself.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT First of all, I am grateful to the Almighty God for establishing me to complete this project. I wish to express my sincere thanks to SOTERO H. LAUREL Librarians, for providing me with all the necessary facilities and books that I need to be able to carefully analyze all the topics that have been discuss in philosophy of human existence. I also thank Professor Josefina C. Perez, one ...
This makes those who agree with him happy. They like that he is agreeing with them that he does not know anything. It is a reiteration of the previous strategy of giving on small victories, such as not being universally acknowledged as the most wise man in all of Athens in order to hopefully win their minds and hopefully spare his life. Socrates then confronts his accusers. After dealing with his old accusers he moves on to the matter at hand. He then talks with Meletus and addresses the charges that have brought him into court on that day.
He defends his belief in the gods and his corruption of the youth of Athens during this conversation with Meletus. Neither argument is impressive. At one point he compares the betterment of youth to the training of horses. He also tries to make the claim that no bad is done intentionally, and that if he has done harm to the youth it was not intentional, and he should not be punished. Overall Socrates seems to have been relying on his acting like a good natured person who could not ever commit a crime as his primary means of defense. The suggestion that if he did harm it was not intentional, and that therefore he should not be punished is more of a last resort loophole to allow people one more chance to vote in favor of acquittal. This argument is less masterful.
He seems to have forgotten that he is in a court of law. The whole purpose of this venue is to punish those who have intentionally done wrong. Therefore it is unlikely that anyone there will be receptive to this argument. Though perhaps this argument provides a second purpose, of allowing Socrates to make his opponent to look foolish. If he is so easily defeated by a man, a man who has already told you that he is a bad speaker, how good can his argument be. This would help those who would normally be more receptive to his opponents point of view to reconsider.
It also has the added personal motive of making the man who put him on trial look foolish. Which, no doubt, gave Socrates a great deal of personal satisfaction. Before the vote Socrates once again reinforces his connection to the oracle and the god Apollo. Then the judgment is rendered. When asked to choose his punishment Socrates says that he should be given a feast. When the verdict of death is handed down he accepts it with grace and dignity.
Exercise 1: Establish your position on the issue selected in class and find an authoritative article or report that you think will add strength to your argument. As you develop your claim, you must also look for support for your point of view from the Tallahassee Community College library databases. NOTE: Your ID card must be activated by the Reference Desk, if you are to access sources required ...
He warns those who have condemned then that they may have condemned themselves to a worse fate. They have denied themselves and the city of a man who helps to keep people from growing to complacent. This final statement is made to allow Socrates to one final time reinforce his importance while dying with dignity. He may also have been hoping to help create a legacy. He had completed his final goal of leaving behind a vision for his followers to hold on to, and to encourage them to follow in his footsteps..