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Private Life In Socrates's Apology

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In Apology, Socrates faces possible execution as he stands trial in front of his fellow Athenian men. This jury of men must decide whether Socrates has acted impiously against the gods and if he has corrupted the youth of Athens. Socrates claims in his defense that he wants to live a private life, away from public affairs and teachings in Athens. He instead wants to focus on self-examination and learning truths from those in Athens through inquiry. Socrates argues that "a [man] who really fights for justice must lead a private, not a public, life if [he] is to survive for even a short time" (32a). He claims that this is how he has been able to live a long life in Athens and that he never meant any harm to the state. Socrates believes that for…show more content…
It is challenging to lead a private life while truly fighting for justice. A man can fight for justice through examining the greatest issues in human nature that Socrates found essential to the private life. However, this knowledge can have the biggest effect when brought into the public life such as through teachings. These two things can then combine to reflect how the state should be changed. Socrates sometimes crossed this line himself, even if unknowingly. Through becoming a teacher of the young men who followed him in Athens, Socrates effectively began to enter the public life. He was able to influence others through sharing his conclusions of justice, self-examination, and piety, and by asking relentless questions. Socrates effectively showed that an individual can live a private and a public life, even if Socrates was not directly involved in the policy-making in Athens. An individual can combine these two aspects of life in a productive way allowing her/him to live a full existence. These individuals can become teachers, politicians, and activists who use their focus on justice and piety in their private lives to advocate and create laws that promote true justice for the rest of the
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