The Ideas of Socrates
Socrates was unlike most Athenians of his time. Socrates was morally radical and intellectual. During his trial for impiety and wrongdoing the youth Socrates felt that the people of Athens should concern themselves about their wellbeing of emotions rather than their family.
Socrates ideas affected the views towards the knowledge politics and virtue of the Athenians society. He also believed that one should give attention on the growth of himself than on physical things and encouraged people to develop a respectable relationship among other society member.
In government Socrates did not like the system of the Athens so, he supported the democracy.
These ideas started to make an impact on the youth of Athens. During the time of Socrates life, the Athenians was going through a historic transition from supremacy in the orthodox world. At this time the Athens entered a period of uncertainty and doubt about their individualities. Because of this their past wonders notion wealth and obsession with physical beauty was embraced.
Socrates confronted these values with his tenacious prominence on the importance of the thoughts.
A great example of this is in The Euthyphro and the Death of Socrates, Socrates and Euthyphro were having a conversation and Socrates wanting to learn from Euthyphro who was going to court to indict his own father for having accidentally killed a murderous hired hand. Socrates compliments Euthyphro, signifying that Euthyphro must be a great skilled in religious matters if he is willing to prosecute his own father on an uncertain charge.
Socrates urges Euthyphro to coach him and teach him what holiness is to formulate for his own trail against Meletus. One of the questions was, “Tell me then, what do you say holiness is, and what is unholiness?” Then Euthyphro answer him by saying, “Well, I say that holiness is what I am doing now, prosecuting a criminal either for murder or for sacrilegious theft or for some other such thing, regardless of whether that person happens to be one’s father or one’s mother or anyone else at all whereas not to prosecute is unholy.” Once that conversation kept going with a little bickering and Socrates doing what he knows best asking questions till the person gets a wiser or answer he was looking for. Euthyphro felt that Socrates was just being a difficult and wanted to end the conversation, but Socrates explained to him he’s just trying to learn and get him to a better understanding of what holiness and unholiness is.
The views of Socrates by many Athenians challenged the Greek wisdom. This is the main reason many Athenians grew annoyed towards Socrates and felt he was threatening their way of life and uncertain future. This generated a situation that the people of Athens were divided.
When taking to trail Socrates tries his best to speaks in a very simple, conversational manner. Socrates explains to the jury that he has no knowledge with the law courts and that he will instead speak in the manner to which he is content: with morality and straightforwardness. He explains that his attitude comes from a insight of the oracle of Delphi which claimed that he was the wisest of all men. Recognizing his ignorance in most worldly matters, Socrates strongminded that he must be wiser than other men only in that he recognizes that he knows nothing. To spread this odd wisdom, Socrates explains that he considered it his career to question the theoretical ‘wise’ men and to expose their dishonest wisdom as ignorance. This earned him much respect with the youth of Athens, but much loathing and anger from the people he embarrassed. He indicates their contempt as the reason for his being put on trial.
Socrates then proceeded to interrogate Meletus, the man who was responsible for bringing Socrates before the jury. Socrates then cross-examines Meletus and saying that Meletus was contradicting his statements about Socrates. Socrates began to ask Meletus a series of questions and awaits Meletus to answer. One of these questions comes out of Socrates Speaks at His Trail, The Apology, it states, “… Meletus, in what sense you make out that I corrupt the minds of youth. Surely the terms of your indictment make it clear that you accuse me of teaching them to believe in new deities instead of the gods recognized by the state; isn’t that the teaching of mine which you say has this demoralizing effect.” All this to basically say to the jury and Meletus that him here for impiety, but he does believe in the gods.
Socrates is found guilty by a thin margin and is asked to suggest a penalty. Socrates jokingly suggests that if he were to get what he merits, he should be complimented with a great meal for being of such service to the state. On a stricter note, he declines their offer of prison and exile, offering perhaps instead to pay a fine. When the jury rejects his suggestion and sentences him to death, Socrates stoically agree to take the decision with the thought that no one but the gods know what happens after death and so it would be unwise to fear what one does not know. He also advises the jury who voted in contradiction of him that in silencing their enemy rather than heeding to him, they have harmed themselves much more than they have harmed him. Not pleased with Socrates suggestions they sentenced him to death by drinking a combination of poison hemlock.
The Athenian culture played a huge role in Socrates argument. This is shown in Socrates Speaks at His Trail, The Apology. In this apology Socrates states, “I am convinced that I never wrong anyone intentionally, but I cannot convince you of this, because we have had so little discussion. If it was your practice. As it is with other nations, to give not one day but several to the hearing of capital trails, I believe that you might have been convinced; but under present conditions it is not easy to dispose of grave allegations in short space of time.” This is saying that in the Athenian society they have different ways of how they govern. The way the Athenian government worked is why Socrates was considered guilty of the crimes they claimed he committed.
Socrates believed that the better way for living was to focus on the pursuit of virtue. In his entire life he tried to bestow wisdom and inspire the common people to build a sociable relationship with each other. Socrates ideas and philosophy had significantly affected the social system and order of Athens. He emphasized on the human reason-based society rather than the religious based one and gave importance on the morals. Socrates ideas had influenced the young people of Athens and they had used his methods to criticize and challenge the Greek belief and wisdom which led the society into rough condition. For that reason, many Athenians become foe of Socrates. The authority became livid about the status of him so, the jury found him guilty and gave him the death penalty.