Fear Of Death In Plato's Apology

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In Plato’s Apology, Socrates is put into trial because he is accused of corrupting the youth with his teachings that deviate from the established beliefs of the Greek society. Although he justifies that he is only doing what he believes is his duty, he reasons that even if he is given a death penalty, death is nothing to be feared. He raises multiple strong and effective arguments that explain to his audience that it is illogical to fear death. All of these arguments revolves around the central idea that death is not evil and that “no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death” (Apology, 41c). The first argument that Socrates presents during his trial is the idea that death is not the most important thing to worry about in…show more content…
“…if I disobeyed the oracle because I was afraid of death: then I should be fancying that I was wise when I was not wise. For this fear of death is indeed the pretence of wisdom, and not real wisdom, being the appearance of the unknown: since no one knows whether death, which they in their fear apprehend to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good” (Apology, 29a-29b). This potent statement not only highlights Socrates’ wisdom, it effectively makes use of his belief that he is wise because he knows nothing. By saying that he knows nothing of the afterlife, it gives him the reason to illustrate to his audience that he cannot fear what he does not know. He is able to make the claim that the fear of death is just another type of false wisdom of claiming to know the unknowable. He further supports his claim by stating that instead of fearing the unknown caused by death, he is more terrified of failing his mission to God and his people. He asserts that fearing certain evil such as failure to do God’s duty is more sensible than fearing death, which cannot be accurately identified as either good or
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