Thursday, February 19, 2015

Socrates' Final Lesson

Conner Lewis, World History 4                                                                                      2/19/15
Thoughts and Reflections On: When Free Speech Was First Condemned The Trial of Socrates                                                                       Reconsidered
Article By I.F. Stone
Published By Harpers Magazine

Socrates' Final Lesson

          This article was named as such due to the underlying meaning of Socrates' trial. It showed that the once great Athens was beginning to lose that which once made it so great, free speech and political freedom. The trial was based off of completely false charges, and was simply created to silence the anti-democratic and inevitably anti-political Socrates. Athens chose to give up the right of free speech as one of their greatest traits just to silence an old man whom they disagreed with. The accusers and inevitably the jury that did not acquit him were condemning the right of free speech by not allowing Socrates to practice it, and this was the first time this ever occurred in recorded history as Athens was the first democracy, if limited, which had free speech. Socrates knew this, and this puts Socrates in a different light, by showing how he willingly sacrificed himself to show that the jury and inevitably Athens no longer followed free speech. He was nobly sacrificing himself in order
to once again open the Athenians' eyes to one of their many flaws, and in this way it was his final lesson to the Athenian people. Some of the witnesses of which the prosecution could have called upon to support their illegitimate claims could have been the Oracle of Delphi or Chaerephon's brother, to see if Socrates' claim that the Oracle called him the wisest were true, for if he were not he would not be truly following God's task and would therefore possibly be corrupting the youth with a false pretense that he was on such a mission. The defense could have called on any of Socrates' many pupils to show how he was truly not corrupting them, and that they simply discussed with each other topics of interest, or they could have again called on the Oracle or Chearephon's brother to show the claim was true, and he actually was on a mission from God.

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