The essay discusses Plato’s Apology that constitutes of Plato’s defense of his mentor Socrates who sentenced to death following his conviction on charges of impiety and corrupting of Athenian youths. Plato’s Apology, constituting of a dialogue for a legal defense seeks to show that the Athenian men wrongly accused Socrates sentencing him to his execution and was rather the only one who presented the truth while the judges and other Athenian men did not. The case surrounds a threat to the status quo that guided and served as the realm in which the society was built. Therefore, the analysis paper of the work by Plato on Socrates defense examines the historical events that characterize the period, how it reflects on the characteristic of the period and how the author contributed to the humanities expansion.
Historical Events or Innovations Characterizing the Period
The dialogue by Plato is estimated to have been written in the period between 399 B.C.E. and 387 B.C.E. following Socrates execution and before Plato’s first excursion sending him to Syracuse (Prior, 2001). At the time, the political elite and Athenian men believed to be the rulers of the city found Socrates teachings and challenge of the ethical and spiritual authority to negate what they believed. This characterized the failure to recognize and believe in the city gods and the new divinities that ruled and controlled life (Miller & Platter, 2012). The Athenian youths subscribing to the doctrines and teachings of Socrates were viewed as a force bound to threaten the stability and future of Athenian superiority and philosophical developments. Therefore, the political motivations served as foundations to ‘justly’ sentence a man that was correct for wrongdoing. The accusers of Socrates comprised of Anytus, Lycon, and Meletus presented the legal accusations upon which Socrates was tried upon – an advancement of the political motivations to the change of the current norms and philosophical believes at the time (Burnyeat, 1997).
Analysis of How the Work Reflects a Theme or Stylistic Characteristic from its Period
The Classical Greece period between the fifth and the forth centuries is characterized by an era of wars and massive political and cultural changes and developments (Hrmingway & Hemingway, 2000). The two main wars that characterize the period comprise of the war between the Greeks and the Persians and the war between the Spartans and the Athenians (Ober, 2021). This period prompting the massive and unprecedented changes, developments, and achievements of the political and cultural environment caused a stir in the state of nature and reality in the Ancient Greece. Socrates teachings and new philosophical doctrines that were later endorsed by his student Plato proved to be chaotic threaten the delicate form of society at the time (Murray, 1991). This set the tone towards a theme of philosophical changes and development of new doctrines upon which scholars and philosophers were bound to see the world in the future. As a result, a profound threat opposing the city’s gods and the ruling class of Athens was an unacceptable form of political and cultural realm coming to fruition. This prompted the Athenian men of the legal circles, standards, and settings to constitute a trial that would castigate and put a stop to Socrates teachings and way of thinking. Therefore, this further presents a theme on change to political and cultural status quo by force and any means necessary to create a new society.
Analysis of the Author’s/Artist’s/Composer’s Contribution to the Humanities
The foundation of all philosophy and knowledge development is based on the recognition of not knowing. That is, the first premise of developing wisdom is the recognition that one knows nothing leaving room for further developments and discovery to fill the void created by the lack of knowing. Ignorance is the foundation upon which philosophy is based on, one which guides both scientific and humanities to date in the development of knowledge. Both Socrates and Plato are regarded as some of the most prolific philosophers in history with massive contributions to philosophy itself and development of knowledge (Jowett, 1994). Plato’s Apology itself serves as a crucial documentation and source of knowledge on Socrates life’s contributions to the changes in the society and impact on the norms, ethical, and systems of governance. As well, the dialogue presents fundamental legal precedents and basis of how cases and convictions should be conducted in the society. Additionally, developments in the society remains inevitable and that logic and the nature of men accusing other men should be objective and for the better of the society. This presents that men are not susceptible to change and that there is a cost for that change attained in the society. As a result, knowledge and philosophical developments must be expanded by men with strong beliefs and foundations on what they pursue. Thus, humanities development continues on the basis of continuous changes in the accepted norms and realities paving way for new doctrines that govern and inform the society.
Burnyeat, M. F. (1997). The impiety of Socrates. Ancient Philosophy, 17(1), 1-12. Retrieved from https://www.pdcnet.org/ancientphil/content/ancientphil_1997_0017_0001_0001_0012
Hemingway, C., & Hemingway, S. (2000). The Art of Classical Greece (ca. 480–323 BC). Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History.
Jowett, B. (1994). Apology by Plato. Retrieved from http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/apology.html
Miller, P. A., & Platter, C. (2012). Plato’s Apology of Socrates: a commentary (Vol. 36). University of Oklahoma Press. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=wi8xrHGZrS0C&oi=fnd&pg=PP2&dq=The+Historicity+of+Plato%27s+Apology+of+Socrates&ots=0Qh2gSTLok&sig=Jo29xU8ONz1YHeWgZgeaZIXGPrI
Murray, O. (1991). Life and society in classical Greece. J. Boardman et al, 240-76. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=Ko7pbyqEBcAC&oi=fnd&pg=PA240&dq=classical+greece+period&ots=vw7Y0IGesW&sig=FQHB8Gq1BuMXO12CJuSWHeeOJmQ
Ober, J. (2021). The rules of war in classical Greece. In The Athenian Revolution (pp. 53-71). Princeton University Press. Retrieved from https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/9780691217970-006/html
Prior, W. J. (2001). The historicity of Plato’s Apology. Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek and Roman Political Thought, 18(1-2), 41-57. Retrieved from https://brill.com/view/journals/agpt/18/1-2/article-p41_3.xml