The Clouds By Aristophanes, The Apology And The Republic Essays

The Clouds By Aristophanes, The Apology And The Republic Essays

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The Clouds by Aristophanes, the Apology, and the Republic by Plato collectively demonstrate the hazardous relationship between the philosopher and the city. Each work reveals how Socrates’ method of dialectic inquiry and search for wisdom hindered Athens’ city structure and order. The tension between the city and the philosopher ultimately leads to Socrates’ death. Yet, the jury’s decision does not denounce Socrates as a pious individual. The decision merely represents Socrates’ unwillingness to conform to the Greek traditions and beliefs.
There are several charges laid against Socrates in his trial. Plato’s Apology divides these charges into two sets- the original charges and the new charges. The original accusations are: “Socrates does injustice and is meddlesome, by investigating the things under the earth and the heavenly things, and by making the weaker speech the stronger, and by teaching others these same things” (Plato 19b4-c). These accusations are brought upon by Meletus, but are influenced by Aristophanes and a poem that he wrote, called the Clouds (Plato 19b2). In the comedy, Aristophanes describes in depth Socrates and his actions inside of the “Thinkery”. Socrates agrees to introduce a son, Pheidippides, to the Unjust Speech so that his father, Strepsiades, can avoid paying back a large debt to creditors in court (Aristophanes 886). This agreement provides a basis for Meletus’ claim that Socrates makes the weaker speech the stronger. When Strepsiades enters the Thinkery, he sees Socrates’ students looking down at the ground and turned upside down with their heads on the ground (Aristophanes 191). Strepsiades asks a student what they are doing and he answers that they are “investigating things beneath the earth” (Ari...


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... men ignorant, they naturally became upset (Plato 22e6-23a2). Socrates might have disgruntled the citizens as well because they looked highly upon these men and valued their positions in the traditional Greek society. If Socrates had forced the citizens to disclaim the value and wisdom of the men in these professions, then they would inherently have to disclaim the traditional virtues and norms that the men represented.
Socrates’ practice of philosophy was a constant threat to Athens and its citizens. Skepticism and newfound knowledge would have been disruptive to the city’s order, as tradition played a large role in Greek society. Socrates’ journey for knowledge was naturally offensive and destructive to Greek society’s standards of religion and wisdom. Thus, his methods of dialectic received vast criticism from society, which made his trial defenses less believable

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