Trial and Death of Socrates Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

The logic is simple: the judges here are fakes but the judges in the afterlife are real; and moreover, the one truth he asks the jury to keep in mind is that "…a good man cannot be harmed either in life or in death" (41-c). After all, Socrates will find joy in questioning and having discussions with iconic persons like Homer or Orpheus: "I could spend my time testing and examining people there, as I do here, as to who among them is wise, and who thinks he is, but is not" (41-b).

TWO: Why would Socrates think that it is logical for a vicious person to fear death?

Using Socratic logic, one could comfortably suggest that while it is not logical for a virtuous person to fear death is must then be logical for a person that is not virtuous to fear death. Otherwise, why would Socrates, a man whose whole being revolved around logic and the insistence that arguments be logical, then insist that he wasn't afraid of death? In a general sense, because a person like Socrates has lived a virtuous life, he had no fear of dying because he was always exploring deep philosophical questions and one of the greatest, deepest secrets in the world from the time men could reason is what comes after a physical life?

In the Death Scene (Phaedo) (114-d / 115) Socrates insists that a man should be "…of good cheer about his own soul" and whatever afterlife experiences he may encounter if "during life he has ignored the pleasure of the body and its ornamentation as of no concern to him." This is by way of saying, dying should not be uncomfortable if a person has not engaged in strictly physical pleasures because those pleasures would do him "…more harm than good" (114-e). This sets up the answer to the question in Part Two: If a man has "adorned his soul not with alien but with its own ornaments" which include "…moderation, righteousness, courage, freedom and truth," than fearing the "underworld" (or afterlife) is out of the question. He would welcome death if he was of good faith.

Hence, the very opposite of moderation is excess, so those who drowned in excesses during life would logically be the opposite of those who practiced moderation, which means they would fear death, the opposite of one who lived moderately. And because the opposite of righteousness is wickedness, it follows (using Socratic logic) that the person who was wicked would fear death. The person who was courageous in life would logically not fear death; but cowards would fear death.

In the Apology, while questioning Meletus, Socrates coyly points out that it is not "difficult to avoid death" -- and he is talking about himself and the fact that he is not afraid to die -- but is "…much more difficult to avoid wickedness" (39-b). In fact, wickedness (or viciousness) "runs faster than death" and because Socrates is "slow and elderly," he has been "caught by the quicker wickedness" and now he is condemned to death but Meletus is "…condemned by truth to wickedness" (39-b). Hence, Meletus will fear death in that context.

Works Cited

Melchert, Norman. The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy (Sixth

Edition). New York: McGraw-Hill…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Melchert, Norman. The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy (Sixth

Edition). New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education (2002): 87-100 / 115-118.

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