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Decisions in The Trial of Socrates

The trial of Socrates was undoubtedly arranged since the personality of the philosopher was disagreeable to some individuals. While some of the accusations against him were valid, such as a lack of respect for the gods, the real reason for this trial and its ruling was to get rid of the unpleasant philosopher. However, to the surprise of many of his disciples, Socrates did little enough to win the trial or get a softer decision. Instead of using methods common in the court, such as appealing to mercy, using the pleading of his wife and children, the philosopher deliberately provoked the judicial commission. For example, having the opportunity to independently choose a punishment for himself, which, among other things, could be an exile, he declared that he deserved not punishment but honors. Such words angered many presents, so the following sentence for Socrates was death.

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Even while in prison awaiting the execution of the sentence, Socrates still had the opportunity to escape. Crito, one of his comrades, gave this opportunity to him, ready to bribe the guards and provide the philosopher with shelter in a neighboring city (Reeve 65). However, even being alone with a trusted person, the philosopher still refused to flee into exile. From my perspective, this characterizes Socrates from two points of view. First, to the very end, the philosopher wanted to observe the law of the place where he was born and raised. He defended the idea of the rule of law throughout his life, and an attempt to escape before death would have crossed out all his achievements. In the end, even having successfully escaped, he would not have been able to live the life he had lived before. Having escaped death, he would have become exactly what he was accused of – a corrupter of youth.

Secondly, the way Socrates behaved suggests that he was looking for death on purpose. In the end, it was not Athens who forced the philosopher to drink poison, but he forced his hometown to present him with this cup. Thus, from his judgment and his death, Socrates made an excellent example of following the law and principles, which he did not dare to violate even before his death.

Work Cited

Reeve, C. D. C., editor. The Trials of Socrates. Hackett Publishing Company, 2002.

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