The Apology: The Understanding of the Soul in Life and Death

Powerful Essays
Four main themes are the most important in the assigned section of The Apology. I will begin with a brief synopsis of each major theme, with an analysis and my opinion following, and ending with the question of Socrates' own death.

Firstly, Plato introduces the important concept that it is far worse for one to do wrong than to suffer wrongdoing. Socrates, refusing to be harmed by Meletus, believes that “it is not allowed that a good man be injured by a worse” (pg. 41). Despite Socrates' impending death or banishment, he does not think that these are the worst possible situations and still goes on to say that “it is a much greater evil to do what [Meletus] is doing now, and to try to put a man to death unjustly” (pg. 41). Certainly a man may be harmed by another, but as Socrates later clarifies, “no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death. His affairs are not neglected by the gods...” (pg. 47). According to Socrates, the good are protected by the gods, who guard them from harm.

In order to understand that it is better to suffer wrong than to do evil, one must understand the importance of the soul in philosophical terms. When suffering wrongdoing, only the body is harmed, verses the act of doing evil, which harms one's soul. Since the soul is the most important part to a human being, the part for which we question and examine to find the good, Socrates claims that “it is evil and disgraceful to do an unjust act” (pg. 40). Even though Socrates may be put to death, it is still not as evil as Meletus harming others and consequently harming his soul. Socrates, although sentenced to death, can have no evil occur to him because he is a good man protected by the gods.

Socrates' idea that a good ma...

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...ape, Socrates produces another excuse to be sentenced to death.

Plato's The Apology serves as a way to examine ourselves and promotes us to question in the pursuit of enhancing our lives. To harm others is worse than to be harmed ourselves, damaging our souls verses damaging our physical beings. In order to live a good life, it is important that we reflect on our lives to avoid a life of ignorance. To discover human excellence and wisdom through questioning and examination is the way to truly enhancing our souls for the good. Socrates, the speaker of The Apology, considers two positive alternatives after death: either a dreamless sleep and or the movement of the soul to an afterlife. Whether Socrates truly wished for death or was put to death unjustly is questionable, but he believed in the goodness of the soul that would transcend into the afterlife.
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