NOTES ON PLATO'S LAST DAYS OF SOCRATES Socrates is asked if he does not think it is stupid to put himself in danger of the

death penalty. He says no. He points out that the heroes of Troy would then have to be considered stupid. He says that death is always preferable to dishonour and mentions Hector as an example of such thinking. Socrates goes on to say that as a soldier for Athens in the Peloponnesian War, he stood at his post even if it was dangerous, as he believed it was the right thing to do. So surely now that he is obeying the gods he must do the same thing and stand by what he thinks is right. Socrates believes that it is stupid to be afraid of death. We cannot know what it holds for us and for all we know it could be nice. He then puts forward the idea that the people of Athens might suggest to him that he could be pardoned if he stops spreading his ideas. He still would not give up philosophising as it would be disloyal to god. He says he will go on no matter what saying to the people of Athens that they should be ashamed of themselves spending all their time making money and worrying about power and reputation instead of worrying about "the truth and understanding and the perfection of their souls". Nothing will stop him doing this as he sees it as the will of god. He will go on telling the youth of the city that wealth does not bring goodness but that goodness brings all kinds of blessings. Socrates goes on to say that he believes that the Athenians, in putting him to death would be doing themselves much more harm than him. He argues that god has specially appointed him to Athens as a stinging fly which irritates a big,lazy thoroughbred horse and stirs it into action. He knows he annoys the Athenians but he believes he does them a lot of good. He then points out that he personally has made nothing out of his life's work and has neglected his family to spread his ideas. He points to his poverty as evidence of this. He says that he has a special divine voice which tells him what he should do and say and that this voice has more power over him than any earthly authority. As evidence of this he reminds the jury of the time when he was on the Athenian Council. He

was told by the Oligarchy (the ruling group in Athens at the time) to go with some others to fetch Leon of Salamis to be executed but he refused to go, even if he was killed for it. (He explains that he was not killed as the Oligarchy fell soon afterwards.Socrates again points out that he cannot be accused of teaching anyone anything as he never charged a fee just to talk to someone, young or old, rich or poor.

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