ON “THE APOLOGY OF SOCRAT BY PLATO”

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The Apology was written by Plato who was a student of Socrates after years of Socrates’ execution. Plato explained that how Socrates defended himself in this book. Socrates who did not know even the names of people who blamed him appeared in court for the first time at the age of 70. Socrates said that he would talk with simple words and he would defend himself in obeying the law in throughout all court.

Socrates was blamed with accusation which belongs to Meletus who didn’t even known by Socrates, “Socrates was a guilty of wrongdoing in that he busies himself studying things in the sky and below the earth; he maked the worse into the stronger argument, and he thought these same things to others.” Against this accusation, Socrates said that he hadn’t talked about these issues before. Men of Athens, surely all those of you have heard me conversing. Many of you should tell each other if anyone of you has ever heard me discussing such issues to any extent at all. Also, they accused of this crime to Socrates, he undertook to teach people and charged the fee for it. That was not true either. Against these accusations, Socrates said: “I think it was a good thing to be able to teach people. Certainly, I wish I had known how to teach people men of Athens, but I don’t know it, gentlemen. I had never been a teacher of anyone. However, while I was talking, I didn’t refuse young or old people who wanted to listen to me with envy. I didn’t receive money to talk, I didn’t shut up because I didn’t receive money either.” Socrates had lots of witnesses’ regarding he spoke correctly. According to Socrates, the biggest witness was his poverty.

Later, Socrates talked about actually what he does, what he interested in and why he was blamed. The only reason for these accusations was the type of wisdom belonging to Socrates. Socrates was a wiser than people who think that they know something although they do not. However, Socrates knew that he doesn’t know anything. Thus, Socrates was a wiser man. However, in real fact, only God is a wise.

Other accusations of Meletus were like that; “Socrates doesn’t believe in Gods and refuses them. Also, he tries young to convince about not to believe in Gods who town believes in, to believe in Gods who Socrates created. He tired young to impose to believe in Gods who Socrates created. And he corrupted these young. At the same time, Meletus said: “Socrates does not only believe in holy presences but also he teaches them.” According to Socrates, when Meletus said this, at the same time he said: “Socrates commits because of not to believe in God, but actually he believes.” As if Meletus made fun of Socrates and judges. Because, looking at only this sentence, we can say that Socrates believes in Gods. Socrates defended himself, against to accusations about corrupting of young: According to Meletus, except Socrates everybody -jurymen, audience, assembly, members of Council, it seems all the Athenians– makes the young into fine good men. In that case, according to Meletus, Socrates is so illiterate, if he corrupts the young he didn’t know, he will have the risk of being harmed by youngs. And, Socrates did this deliberately. Even if Socrates corrupt the youngs willingly, the law doesn’t require Meletus to bring Socrates or other people to court for such unwilling wrongdoings, but to get hold of them privately, to instruct them and exhort them. If Socrates learned better, he would give up to do what he is doing unwillingly. However, Meletos have avoided instructing to Socrates and Meletos stayed away from Socrates; instead of it, he brought Socrates to court where the law punish the guilty people. Also, if Socrates corrupt the young, today these young should have in court and they should have want Socrates to be accused and be punished. However, aforementioned youngs were not in court. There may be the valid reason for not being in court for young people. However, elderly relatives of aforementioned youngs who Socrates didn’t corrupt, could come to court and they could want Socrates to be punished. However, they didn’t, because, they knew that Meletos lied and Socrates said true.

On the other hand, young who had a rich family and come to around of Socrates willingly liked to watch Socrates. While he was testing people. Thus, these young started to test people who think they know a lot when they know nothing. Because of this situation was annoying for these people. And those people blamed Socrates, not the young. Socrates thought Meletos & Anytos who blamed Socrates didn’t damage Socrates. Because damaging of bad people to good people wasn’t fair. The bad one is trying to be killed an innocent person. Due to that, Socrates didn’t prepare the apology for himself, he prepared it for the judges of Athens not to commit a crime or not to sin against to God’s bestowals to the Athens in case of convicting Socrates.

If Socrates was killed, Athens wouldn’t find a man who devoted himself to a country as Socrates, had same traits with Socrates easily. After the death of Socrates, if God didn’t send to Athens to look after for them, Athens will live in fast asleep until last of their lives.

Socrates didn’t bring his relatives and 3 boys to court. For it would be embarrassing for those who have been known as wise, brave or people who have the reputation for other virtue to do things that are not worthy of them. When they were convicted to execute, even though judges didn’t convict to death, –as if they are going to live until forever– they behaved weirdly because of they think that death is the bad thing.

Also, according to Socrates, trying to be acquitted imploringly to judge was not fair. The fair one is convincing to judge giving knowledge. Judges were brought to this position not to deliver the justice like a blessing thing, to adjudge inline with the constitution. If Socrates tried to convince imploring the judges, and if he forces judge to break their oaths, he would have been thought the judges to believe non-existence of Gods, and he would have been blamed for himself not to believe in God, too. That means Socrates believed in Gods more than anyone does. Even being able to afford death. Unfortunately, at the end of the court, Socrates convicted to the death penalty with 280 votes against 220 votes.

After Decision

After the decision, Socrates believed in he acquited accosation of Meletus. Because, there was not absolute majority, Socrates had a right to suggest as alternative. Before the court, Socrates’ friend try to convince him to escape, but he refused it. According to Socrates, escaping means committing a huge crime. If he escaped, then everybody will think that he didn’t believe in Gods, he is afraid of dying and he didn’t believe the laws which he support until today. For Socrates, fearing of death means appearing like knows the thing you don’t know. Anyone knows that whether death was the best thing that happened to human or not, but everybody is afraid of death as if death is the biggest evil that happened to humans.

When someone thinks to know something that actually he doesn’t know is the most shameful type of ignorance. If Athens say to Socrates this: “We release you, but you will stop your research and you will not think about philosophy. Otherwise, you will be convicted to die.” Socrates would answer this: “Athens, I accepted your existence and I liked you, but I obeyed the God, not you. Until I die, I will never give up doing research and philosophy, giving advice and teaching the truths.” So, before already Athens didn’t offer this, Socrates refused it. Later, if judges accept, he will offered to pay 1 mna. And finally, Socrates said the judges: “What should an old man who made favor to you and try to find empty time in order you to make a good man want to you?” and he answered: “Athens, the only thing that is suitable for him, he will eat one’s pill in Prytanein. ( Prytanein where was built in 6th B.C.,was one of the oldest public buildings. Earning to right to eat until forever in Prytanein, was the biggest honour that would be given to citizen by the city of Athens.) Offering of Socrates like making fun of the judges, without doubt this request became angry the judges.

Socrates couldn’t convince the judge about he was not a quilty, because his time was not enough. If this period become enough, Socrates would convince the judges. Socrates didn’t convicted because of the lack of his assertion, he was convicted because lack of arrogance, lack of shamelessness and he was convicted because he didn’t say words that judges looked forward Socrates to say. Socrates prefered to die in type of how he defended himself now than getting rid of death in tears.

Socrates who was elderly and heavy defeated to death that move slowly, accusatories who are fast and bad, defeated to evil that faster. While Socrates was leaving after he was convicted from court, accusatories left being found guilty by accurancy. For Socrates, perhaps it must be like that. So, fortunately it happened. Socrates said: “After I die, you will be punished more than mine.” to the judges. According to some researches, Socrates was said it by Plato. Socrates wanted to underline that Socrates student will call to account of this injustice. Really, firstly Plato, Ksenapton, Aeschines, Antistheres and many other students wrote books to defend Socrates.

During the court, Socrates didn’t trust to judges and to underestimate them, he called them men of Athens in 44 times after court, he called the judges who voted Socrates to acquit as “juryman” in 4 times. In that point, Socrates seperated the judge who voted Socrates to acquit from the judges who not to voted Socrates to acquit, and calling them as “juryman” he wanted to underestimate that they did their mission correctly.

The last word of the Socrates in court is this: “Now the hour to part has came I go to die, you go to live. Which of us goes the better lot is known to no one, except the God…”

At the end of the book, after Socrates drink posion and died Kriton said: “Such was the end of our comrade, a man who, we would say, was of all those we have known the best, and also the wisest and the most upright…’’.

Osman MİCAN

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Osman MİCAN

İstanbul Medeniyet Üniversitesi-SBKY dunyasubayi@gmail.com İLİM ''MEDENİYET''TİR.

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