You will prepare and submit a term paper on Socrates and His Philosophical Ideas. Your paper should be a minimum of 1500 words in length. Those who claim Socrates acted foolishly in rejecting more traditional forms of defense base this concept on the fact that Socrates himself knew the defense he planned to bring forward would anger many people. In Athenian law, “the prosecution and defense could say pretty much whatever they wanted. Thus, ironically, Socrates, nevertheless had more freedom of speech at his trial than most defendants do in the courts of the United States of America … All Socrates had to worry about was how to appeal to the jury, but he then made his defense in such a way as to antagonize the jury instead” (Ross, 2007). This is evidenced within the text of the Apology as Socrates begins his defense of himself against the old enemies that have spoken falsely “telling of one Socrates, a wise man, who speculated about the heaven above, and searched into the earth beneath, and made the worse appear the better cause” (Apology: 944). He realizes most of his jurors have heard bad things about him from the time that they were young and are unlikely now to change their minds regarding his guilt. “Socrates begins his defense by acknowledging that he also has other adversaries from the past and present. He states that their opposition is not a recent phenomenon” (Tatar, 2000). It has been argued that with this knowledge, Socrates should have done more to defend himself based upon more emotional reasons, such as bringing his family to court to plead for his life. At the same time, it is shown through Socrates’ words that he knew he was making enemies even as he was making them. “Then I went to one man after another, being not unconscious of the enmity which I provoked, and I lamented and feared this” (Apology: 946). His willful continuation of these actions that only added to the number of enemies he would have in the state is often pointed to as a sign of unwise behavior.
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