After Socrates' brief and rather flippant request for the death penalty to be commuted, the jury votes to put Socrates to death. This time, the margin is greater--over two thirds--in contrast to the narrow margin that found Socrates guilty. Socrates now makes his final address to the jury before being led off to prison.
He warns those that sentenced him that they will hereafter be blamed for putting a wise man to death. If only they had had a little patience, he suggests, he would have died without their help; after all, he already an old man of seventy. He reflects that perhaps he might have saved himself by saying whatever was necessary to secure his acquittal, of weeping or appealing to the jury's mercy. However, he has not done so for lack of ingenuity, but for lack of impudence: he would be disgracing himself and the court if he were to make such appeals. The difficulty, as he sees it, is not to outrun death, but to outrun wickedness, which is a far more dogged pursuer. Socrates accepts that he has been outrun by death, but points out that, unlike him, his accusers have been outrun by wickedness. While he has been condemned to death by a human jury, his accusers have been convicted of depravity and injustice by no less a tribunal than Truth herself. He is happier accepting his sentence than theirs, and considers this to be a fair sentence.
He finishes his address to those who voted against him with a stern prophecy. Though they may have managed to silence him in the hopes that they can continue to live free of criticism, he will be replaced by even more critics who until now have kept silent. Socrates warns his accusers that in order to live free of criticism, one must behave well rather than stop the mouths of one's critics.
Socrates then addresses those who voted to acquit him, to reconcile themselves to his fate. He remarks that the divine voice that often warns him against harmful actions has remained silent throughout the trial and throughout his own speech. From this he concludes that perhaps death is a blessing, since his sign would have opposed him unless his actions were to bring about a good result. After all, Socrates reasons, death is either annihilation--a complete and final sleep--or death is a transmigration, where his soul would live on somewhere else. If death is annihilation, it is to be looked forward to as we would look forward to a deep, restful sleep. On the other hand, if death is a transmigration to some sort of afterlife, that afterlife will be populated by all the great figures of the past, from Homer to Odysseus. Socrates remarks how delightful it would be to pass amongst these great figures, questioning them regarding their wisdom.
The conclusion Socrates reaches, then, is that the good man has nothing to fear either in this life or the next. He denies any grudge against his accusers, even though they seek his life, and asks his friends to look after his three sons and to make sure that they always put goodness above money or other earthly trappings. Socrates concludes with the famous phrase: "Well, now it is time to be off, I to die and you to live; but which of us has the happier prospect is unknown to anyone but God" (42a).
We find another interesting application of Socratic irony in Socrates' assertion that he would be showing impudence if he were to weep and beg for mercy. To the jury, he would have been showing impudence by not doing so and defiantly maintaining his position. The fact is, Socrates does show impudence to the court, but this kind of impudence is of little value or interest to Socrates. When he speaks of impudence, he refers to impudence before the much higher tribunals of Truth and goodness. He would be compromising his dignity and his duty to truth if he were to so debase himself. Socrates then is ultimately condemned by this jury because he does not speak to them, but to the truth. His moral position in general is one of always trying to be just and honest rather than to please his fellow person, knowing that even if he irritates others, he is ultimately doing them good by living justly and truthfully.
Socrates' warning that he will be replaced, and by many, is a curious one. Only a bit earlier, at 31a, he warns the jury not to condemn him, as he will not be easy to replace. Now he suggests that he is quite replaceable, and that the jury will not solve their problem at all by putting him to death. Perhaps we see here that Socrates does indeed change his tactics and his position in order to avoid death. Before he was sentenced, he argued that he was irreplaceable in an attempt to convince the jury not to sentence him. Once he was sentenced, he warned the jury they would only be causing themselves more headaches if they put him to death--perhaps another attempt to get them to change their verdict.
Though it can be supported with textual evidence, this reading is not a desirable one; it would contradict so much of what Socrates has said about not fearing death and maintaining his position that it would drastically weaken the force and integrity of his words. Perhaps a better reading comes from asking what rhetorical effects Plato was aiming for in these two different passages. At 31a, Plato is honoring Socrates, his great mentor, pointing out that he is unique among thinkers, and completely original. Here, at 39c-d, Plato is alluding to himself and many of the other pupils of Socrates who became active after Socrates' death, writing Socratic dialogues and passing on his teachings. Socrates' claim, at 39d, that these new critics will be younger and harsher is borne out by The Apology itself, in which Plato provides a damning criticism of Meletus and the Athenian justice system. Furthermore, the seemingly inconsistent claims at 31a and 39c-d can be reconciled in this reading. Plato is right in saying that Socrates is unique and original: no one like him has appeared in the subsequent two-and-a- half millennia. On the other hand, it is also true that his influence did breed a whole new generation of critics. In fact, Socrates almost single- handedly gave birth to the Western rational philosophical tradition, and if all philosophers that have come since are following in his footsteps, his form of criticism has multiplied exponentially.
Socrates' attitude toward death and the afterlife is fleshed out in far greater detail in Plato's Phaedo, a more mature work that deals primarily with the question of the immortality of the soul. In this dialogue, Socrates' uncertainty is gone, and he is quite convinced that his soul will live on in the afterlife. This contrast between The Apology and the Phaedo is illustrative of the contrast between the early and more mature works of Plato. An early work, The Apology centers more around Socrates' philosophical opinions, which, as he so persistently claims, are agnostic regarding any factual questions. As Plato developed his own voice, he began increasingly to speculate on more metaphysical and epistemological questions, and used Socrates as more of a mouthpiece for putting forward his own views. Thus, in the later Phaedo, we see Socrates claiming to have positive knowledge of what happens after death. As for The Apology, Socrates concludes in typical manner, acknowledging that he does not, and cannot, know for certain what awaits him after death.
Plato's Apology has three parts. Socrates's defense against the charges brought against him. Socrates's offer of an alternative sentence, per Athenian legal tradition. Socrates's response to his sentence and final remarks to the jury.What is the brief summary of The Apology by Plato? ›
Plato's The Apology is an account of the speech Socrates makes at the trial in which he is charged with not recognizing the gods recognized by the state, inventing new deities, and corrupting the youth of Athens. Socrates' speech, however, is by no means an "apology" in our modern understanding of the word.What does Socrates argue in The Apology? ›
Socrates claims that he cannot possibly be so foolish as to want to hurt himself, and so if he does cause harm, it must be unintentional.What is the thesis of Plato's Apology? ›
It argues that Socrates does not so much attempt to defend his life by refuting the accusers as to protect his public image by skillfully giving a new meaning to the popular prejudice against him.What is the conclusion in Plato's Apology? ›
Refusing to do anything other than speak truthfully, then, Socrates expresses his satisfaction with the way he has defended himself, at which point he concludes his speech by saying, “I leave it to you and the god to judge me in the way that will be best for me and for you.”What is the most important part of an apology? ›
“Our findings showed that the most important component is an acknowledgment of responsibility. Say it is your fault, that you made a mistake,” Lewicki said. The second most important element was an offer of repair. “One concern about apologies is that talk is cheap.What are some principles Socrates lives by in The Apology? ›
Socrates implicitly associates wisdom with goodness and ignorance with evil, in accordance with his principle that no one knowingly does evil. If we are all uniquely wise, we cannot possibly do evil, since evil deeds are the result of ignorance above all else.Why did Plato write The Apology? ›
Answer and Explanation: Plato wrote The Apology to document Socrates' defense of his methods and philosophy when he was brought before a tribunal in Athens for corrupting the youth.What happened to Socrates at the end of The Apology? ›
After finding Socrates guilty of impiety and corrupting the youth, the Athenian jury sentenced him to death. Socrates carried out his own execution by drinking a mixture of poisonous hemlock.What is the irony in The Apology by Plato? ›
The irony is the incongruity in Socrates' ignorance leading the questioning of citizens thought wise. Socrates believes he acts as a provocative stimulus to arouse drowsy, apathetic people to realize that they do not know themselves and moreover do not know what they claim to know.
In our section of the Apology, Socrates principally argues the following: Virtue: His job is to teach Athenians that nothing is more important than cultivating one's soul, through wisdom: searching for virtue (truth and goodness).What are the contradictions in Plato's Apology? ›
The two major contradictions in the Apology are the disobedience of the order of the Thirty Tyrants and Socrates' statement to the court that he would not obey the jury if they instructed him to stop practicing philosophy.What is the theory of apology? ›
Apologia theory, or theories of apology, was developed from rhetorical theory. It describes a specific form, class, or genre of communication behaviors and messages that occur after a crisis or following an accusation of wrongdoing. The accusation of wrongdoing may involve an individual, group, or organization.What punishment does Socrates suggest he receive at the end of The Apology? ›
—Socrates had expected conviction, but by a larger majority; thus he has had a 'moral victory'. —Socrates proposes a pension for life; he cannot honestly propose a self-punishment, since he does not think himself to be guilty of anything. He is not afraid of death, which may in fact be 'good'.What is the purpose of the apology? ›
To truly heal a relationship, it is powerful for people to exchange apologies. Each person acknowledges their responsibility, they reach a shared definition of the harmful behaviors committed by each one, they are both truly sorry, and they create a plan to avoid future misunderstandings.What is the most critical issue in an apology is the acceptance of responsibility? ›
If for some reason, you can't craft an apology with all six components, the researchers say, the most important element is to accept responsibility. Acknowledge that you made a mistake and make it clear that you're at fault. And never apologize for someone else's feelings—take full responsibility for your behavior.What are the 3 R's in an apology? ›
He remembered the three R's – regret, react, reassure.Why did the jury condemn Socrates in apology? ›
When he speaks of impudence, he refers to impudence before the much higher tribunals of Truth and goodness. He would be compromising his dignity and his duty to truth if he were to so debase himself. Socrates then is ultimately condemned by this jury because he does not speak to them, but to the truth.What does Socrates think about virtue in The Apology? ›
In the Apology and Crito, however, Socrates claims that virtue is sufficient for happiness and that it cannot be taken away, as Chapter III shows.What lessons does The Apology have to teach us today? ›
The 'Apology' shows that Socrates was willing to face death rather than deny his wisdom. It is evident that Socrates' love for wisdom outweighs human fear of death.
The Apology: The Importance Of Plato's Contribution To Meaned Today. If we fail to acknowledge our hubris at the highest level, all of our society will suffer. We have given up our ability to evaluate life in favor of something far easier.Was the apology of Socrates guilty or innocent? ›
Plato gives an account of Socrates' defence speech in his dialogue 'Apology'. From this it would seem that Socrates was defiant. He did not think that there was a case to answer. Despite his brave defence, 280 jurors found Socrates guilty, and 220 innocent.What is Socrates last wish before he leaves his trial in The Apology? ›
Socrates' last request
But you also, judges, must regard death hopefully and must bear in mind this one truth, that no evil can come to a good man either in life or after death, and God does not neglect him.
Here are some of Plato's most famous quotes: “Love is a serious mental disease.” “When the mind is thinking it is talking to itself.” “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion and knowledge.”What type of animal does Socrates view himself as in The Apology? ›
Socrates compares himself to a gadfly, who stings the lazy horse that is Athens, provoking it into action.Does Socrates believe in God? ›
Socrates also believes in deity, but his conception is completely different from the typical Athenians. While to the Athenians gods are human-like and confused, Socrates believes god to be perfectly good and perfectly wise. His god is rationally moral. His god also has a purpose.What were the two charges brought against Socrates in Plato's Apology? ›
The Greeks - The Trial of Socrates. In the year 399 BC, seventy years after he was born, Socrates was brought before the Athenian court on charges of impiety and corrupting the city's youth.What are the major themes in The Apology? ›
- Wisdom, Piety, and Belief. In Plato's Apology, Socrates upholds that true wisdom involves acknowledging one's own ignorance. ...
- Moral Integrity. ...
- Rhetoric, Persuasion, and the Truth. ...
- Democracy, Judgment, and Justice.
Apology of Socrates is one of the most important writing that is received from Ancient Classical Greek and it gives us inspired signs and ideas about early modern period of philosophy and history of humanity. The text had written by Plato, who came from aristocrat family and was one of the students of Socrates.What are the virtues in Plato's Apology? ›
Four virtues: courage, temperance, justice, wisdom.
The 'Apology' shows that Socrates was willing to face death rather than deny his wisdom. It is evident that Socrates' love for wisdom outweighs human fear of death.What is the irony in Plato's apology? ›
The irony is the incongruity in Socrates' ignorance leading the questioning of citizens thought wise. Socrates believes he acts as a provocative stimulus to arouse drowsy, apathetic people to realize that they do not know themselves and moreover do not know what they claim to know.What are 2 underlying aspects of an apology? ›
"Our findings showed that the most important component is an acknowledgement of responsibility. Say it is your fault, that you made a mistake," Lewicki said. The second most important element was an offer of repair. "One concern about apologies is that talk is cheap.What are the two famous quotes in Plato's Apology? ›
- "I am wise because I know that I know nothing."
- "The unexamined life is not worth living."
The “Apology” Plato is referring to in his statement comes from the Greek work “apologia,” which translates as a defense or a speech made in defense. In the Apology, Socrates is not seen to be speaking in an apologetic tone. Rather, he is merely representing a defense against the charges posed against him.What are the 4 virtues of a good person according to Plato? ›
Part of Plato's case for his view that we must be moral in order to be truly happy rests on a discussion of the four cardinal virtues: wisdom, courage, moderation, and justice.What are the four virtues according to Plato? ›
For Socrates and Plato, there are four primary virtues: courage, moderation, wisdom and justice.