What is an Apology?
(An analyzation of Plato’s Apology with a personal comparison)
What is your definition of an apology? Nowadays we think of an apology as an expression of our sorrow, but is that the true definition of the word? A long time ago, around the year 399 B.C.E. the word apology meant something quite different than it does now. Then, the word apology was defined as an explanation of why one thought that they were right, it was not an expression of sorrow or an acknowledgment of an offense, but rather a clarification of one 's viewpoint. In the history of literature we have one large, prominent example of this older definition of apology, and that is the work by the philosopher Plato, entitled, Apology. Plato’s Apology was a declaration of the events that took place during the trial of another great philosopher, Socrates. Socrates’s trial consisted of various discussions between the accusers and Socrates himself. Socrates’s discussions were entitled his apology, but remember the definition of this word is when someone clarifies their viewpoint, not when they acknowledge an offense. Throughout my observations of Plato’s Apology I took the time to truly analyze Socrates defense and was able to pick out three salient characteristics; these three characteristics are ones that I felt I could relate to my own life and therefore feel a connection with. The three characteristics I learned from Plato’s Apology that I can apply to my own life include: always defend what you believe, take the high road, and to never be afraid.
To begin, one of the most crucial lessons that I learned from analyzing Socrates’s defense was to always defend what you believe in, no matter what. Throughout other various works of literature, both...
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...his trial with his many accusers and their opinions, he never once wavered on his opinion or the defense of his values. Then, as we look at the example that Socrates provided two things become apparently clear, he took the high road no matter what, and he was not afraid of anything. Even when his persecutors wrongly accused him, he never once stepped down to their level. Even after the result of the trial was becoming evidently clear, he never once gave into the fear that one may think death presents; rather he stood firm and even greeted death as a way to prove his point. Plato’s Apology is a vital observation into the final moments of perhaps one of the greatest philosophers to ever live, Socrates. Socrates teaches us many things even on his way to his deathbed. Clearly, all of the lessons that we have discussed can and should be applied to everyone’s life.
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