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In Defense of Athens

Essay By: Russ Hammond
Historical fiction

The voice of the prosecution in Plato's Apology.

Submitted:Oct 26, 2012    Reads: 40    Comments: 2    Likes: 1   

Men of Athens, we Athenians have a strong tradition of democracy. That is why we have gathered here today so that we may decide, as a group, the fate of this man, Socrates, and the fate of this fine city. I say that our city's fate hangs in the balance because this man will no doubt be Athens' undoing. He claims to speak only the truth, and he states that the divine, that is the Oracle of Delphi, bolsters his claims; yet, this man does not believe in the gods themselves. What falsehood is that that a man says he speaks the truth and the gods say it to be so, when he himself does not believe in what the gods say? Socrates says that he is the wisest man in Athens and has gone to great lengths to prove this. He has spoken to the great minds of Athens, those being everyone from revered politicians and orators to the most enlightened poets and lowliest of craftsmen, only to find that they possess not as great a wisdom as he. Surely even Socrates must admit that these collective minds together possess a wisdom far greater than any one man. Certainly the collective mind of Athens is wiser than any one of its greatest philosophers. What is the value of one mind? That is the real question I bring before you, men of Athens. Is one mind worth the destruction of all that we've worked so hard to build? Would we let one mind, no matter how wise, undermine all we strive to maintain? Surely a man who has no respect for the wisdom of the gods, nor any respect for the great minds of Athens, is not the sort of man we want associated with our city. This man, arrogant enough to think himself greater than the collective mind of Athens and the gods themselves, is not the wisest man at all but rather quite ignorant. Socrates is ignorant of the wisdom of Athens, irreverent to the gods, and a disgrace to the city of Athens itself. Men of Athens, I beg of you, heed this warning and do not let this man further devalue the democracy we have fought so admirably to maintain.


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