Socrates Essay

774 words - 3 pages

Socrates (470-399 BC)
     Socrates was born to a poor Athenian family in 470 BC He spent most of

his time teaching others. One of his pupils was Plato. Socrates was a believer in

absolute truth rather than relative truth. His main interest was the process by

which people learned how to think for themselves.

     He would usually talk to whoever would take the time to listen. He asked

many questions and criticized answers. His style of conversation has been given the

name Socratic dialogue. Socrates would often ask students questions without giving

them answers. When the students did give answers, he opposed them with clear

logical arguments. This method forced his students to defend their statements and

to clarify their thinking.

     Socrates was the wisest philosopher of his time. He was one of three great

teachers of ancient Greece. Socrates was short and fat, with a snub nose and wide

mouth. Despite his ugly appearance, many said he was a very moral teacher and a

pleasant man to be around. Socrates married a lady named Xanthippe. She was

notorious for her sharp tongue and quick temper.

     The Athenian mob and its self-serving leaders did not appreciate Socrates

and his teachings. In 399 BC, they accused him of “corrupting the young” and of

“not worshipping the gods worshipped by the state.” These men took Socrates to

trial and brought him up on charges. Socrates argued in his own defense that a

person who knew what was right would always do what was right. “A man who is

good for anything ought not to calculate the chance of living or dying; he ought only

to consider whether . . . he is doing right or wrong.”
     
     The jury of citizens found him guilty and sentenced him to death by drinking

hemlock. Socrates did not ask for a lesser penalty and was sentenced to death. He

lived his life under the laws of his polis. He obeyed them his whole life and was not

going to change his ways in court. Socrates drank the poisonous hemlock juice and

died quietly among his grieving followers. However, before he drank the juice, he

said some parting comments of which Plato recorded. “The hour of departure has
Socrates (470-399 BC)
     Socrates was born to a poor Athenian...

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