PLATO: Apology

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September 22, 2016 by fredrikcoulter

It’s hard to write something about The Apology.  I’ve read this essay multiple times over the past forty or so years, so I’m not sure what, if anything, I find surprising.  It’s just there, inside my head, on a fundamental level.

That may be the point.

It does make sense, though, as the first essay to read when approaching the Great Books.  It’s the “confession” of Socrates, who’s being charged with harming the youth of Athens.  How?  Basically, by making them think, by getting them to question life, to question authority.

We can’t have that.

If you don’t know what’s going on, Socrates is being charged with a capital crime.  If he’s found guilty, he will be put to death.  And instead of throwing himself on the mercy of the court, he basically insults the people trying him.  I wonder how this is going to turn out.

The follow up to this essay is Crito, which is an even shorter work about the immediate aftermath of the trial.

This work is available through Project Gutenberg.

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