ARGUMENT PAPER I
APOLOGY: DEFENSE OF SOCRATES
20 SEPTEMBER 2011
WALTER A. JENKINS JR
Plato once said, “No one knows whether death, which People fear to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good.” Throughout the history of mankind, man has been fascinated with the mystery surrounding death. For many it is a phenomenon which is feared and for others it is a salvation from the misery and suffering of everyday life. In Plato’s “Apology”, Socrates has been sentenced to death and he claims that what “has befallen me is a blessing.” After the conclusion of his trial, he explains that there are two possible outcomes to death. Either death is a final end to one’s existence, or one dies and transcends to an eternal afterlife. Socrates says either outcome would be a “good thing.” If there is no life after death then death would be like sleeping with no dreams or interruptions. It would be the most peaceful and sound sleep you could experience. He says that eternity would be like one night’s sleep and that one night would be the equivalent of all the nights and days you had experienced until that point. You would no longer have to experience the pain of everyday life. And if there were life after death, it would be beneficial to you because you could meet and question great figures of history. He would be able to continue to examine and question the greatest people in history and continue to seek those who are wise. So Socrates invites death on himself and welcomes it. After arguing the two aforementioned points, he further justifies the premise that death is good by explaining that death will finally “rid him of all of his troubles.” This means his sufferings in life to include suffering from the ailments of old age will cease. He also explains that he does not fear death and could have paid a fine to avoid the death penalty. However, he refuses to abandon his principles and states that to abandon his...
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