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Socrates: A Revolutionary Philosopher Who Posed A Threat To The Government And Society

628 words - 3 pages

Socrates was a revolutionary thinker. He brought new ideas and processes of thought to Athenian society and his work still has its place in the world today. However during his time, his ideas were not always thought of as a good thing. Many viewed him as a corrupting influence on other people and accused him of forcing his ideas upon others. Perhaps most frequently the center of controversy was his thoughts on theocracy and piety as seen in the Plato’s Euthyphro. Socrates also appears at the butt end of Aristophanes’ comedy Clouds, where he is satirically ridiculed and seemingly corrupting the youth of Athens in his school, the Thinkery. Although virtually completely seen as a positive influence now, in ancient times, Socrates may have done more harm than good for his society.
In Aristophanes’ Clouds, the character Socrates is clearly intended to be a subversive member of Athenian society. He runs the school, the Thinkery, which takes in young Athenians and teaches them what Aristophanes portrays as bizarre concepts and ideas, “whether the hum of a gnat is generated via its mouth or its anus,” being one. The accusation that Socrates corrupted the youth is obviously present in the comedy, and is in fact partially what led to Socrates’ death in real life. However in Plato’s Euthyphro, it can be argued that Socrates plays a similar role. In the Euthyphro, Socrates discusses piety in general and what makes things and people pious. Socrates claims he wants to learn more on the subject so that he may better defend himself against the treasonous charges against him. In a way, Euthyphro represents the traditional Athenian way of thinking. He believes in and supports all of the gods and does not submit to Socrates’ prodding of the subject, although he does walk away from him in frustration at the end of the dialogue. However it can safely be said that most Athenians would...

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