Q) Critically assess the charges against and the defence given by Socrates in the apology?
The apology- a compilation of Socrates dialogue- is a rare collection of works done by Plato which we must treasure. This work gives us a distinct clear picture of what must have happened in Athens in the 5th century. Each deep mystifying dialogue, if interpreted properly, unveils realities leaving us either enlightened or puzzled.
Apprehending, such an abstruse matter, is indeed a tough task. So there may be a possibility of us misinterpreting him.
First we feel that Socrates has misinterpreted the message of 'Oracle'. He has only partially ...view middle of the document...
Instead, of first searching within himself and finding out the truth he is busy annoying other men by asking them the questions of truth. He misses to see that 'truth' can be found by searching into oneself.
3) Socrates proudly calls himself the 'gadfly' and takes immense pleasure in arousing, persuading and reproaching the citizens.
We feel that he is exceedingly obsessed with 'criticising others'. What he believes is that if you attack what is wrong then eventually you would be left with the truth. So instead of instilling the truth in people, he is busy finding 'faults in them'.
4) And again, the reality is that not everyone has the ability to comprehend and accept what is 'the truth'. Each person's time will come to accept this fact. The reality that 'we know nothing' is not a thing which you can attain in 'one session with Socrates or just in one day. To understand this reality, people take ages.
And Socrates shouldn't consider that it is his duty to ingrain this reality in each and every citizen of Athens because, then he would be sort of drilling or hammering this truth, in their heads instead of making them realise this truth. Socrates must know that each person's time will eventually come on this earth to recognise what is worth living and dying for.
5) And lastly what displeases us is this that Socrates, the philosopher, the philanthropist who so very much cares about the humanity, shouldn't just have stuck to the city of Athens. Though this may be one's personal choice to impart knowledge wherever one may please, but yet we feel that it was wrong of Socrates to stick just to Athens, and not even bother about the other places, cities, countries.
6) When the Oracle declared to Chaerephon that no man was wiser than Socrates, Chaerephon told this to Socrates. And thus, Socrates began to search for the evidence behind this statement. And after a lot of searching, criticizing, humiliating and disgracing, he satisfies his search and reaches to the conclusion that what Oracle said was absolutely true. No issues till here. However, now that he has found out this truth, and now that Oracle's words are totally understood and printed in Socrates' minds, he should have ended it there. He had no business (pardon my language) going about and trying to impart this to people. And he put this on God – that he was just carrying out the task of God. (It's my duty to improve the soul of other people). This was "implied" by Socrates. Perhaps, God must have only meant this for Socrates – exclusively for Socrates.