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 Class Forums - Spring 2013
 PHIL 200-001 - Sokrates and Plato
 Xenophon's Apology
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Eva Gomez
Fledgling

5 Posts

Posted - Jan 29 2013 :  4:14:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just wanted to bring up some thoughts about specific passages.... I wondered whether the judges were envious of the way Socrates lived his life, of his being intelligent and "carefree".... These passages convinced me that yes, many of them were jealous and that this is the only reason they condemned him.
quote:
From Xenophon's Apology

As they listened to these words the judges murmured their dissent, some as disbelieving what was said, and others out of simple envy that Socrates should actually receive from Heaven more than they themselves, whereupon Socrates returned to the charge.
quote:
From Xenophon's Apology

Socrates did, it is true, by his self laudation draw down upon him the jealousy of the court and caused his judges all the more to record their vote against him.
What do you guys think? Not very fair for them to record their votes on the basis of such petty emotion. In my opinion, this makes Socrates far more likeable. He becomes the victim, falling prey to the emotion of jealousy. Do you think this was planned? A grand scheme to make Socrates more likeable?

[Lightly edited to enhance readability -TT]

Tom Trelogan
Forum Admin

1424 Posts

Posted - Jan 29 2013 :  7:18:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Before you make up your mind about this, Eva, two things.

First, if anything, Xenophon suggests that there were judges who envied Sokrates his special relation to the gods, not that there were judges who envied either the way he lived his life or his being intelligent or "carefree." I think this is clear even from the translation—the H.G. Dakyns translation—that you're using, which is not, I think, a very good translation. In the translation in Conversations with Socrates—the Robin Waterfield translation—these two passages read as follows "There was uproar from the jurors at this speech: some of them didn't believe what he was saying, while others were jealous that he might have had more from the gods than they. So Socrates continued:..." (CS 44), and "Socrates was so arrogant in court that he invited the jurors' ill-will and more or less forced them to condemn him" (CS 49). In the translation at the Perseus Project—the O.J. Todd translation I recommended you use if you wanted to go with one available on line—they read thus: "Hermogenes further reported that when the jurors raised a clamour at hearing these words, some of them disbelieving his statements, others showing jealousy at his receiving greater favours even from the gods than they, Socrates resumed:… (14)" and "And as for Socrates, by exalting himself before the court, he brought ill-will upon himself and made his conviction by the jury more certain" (32).

Second, even if Sokrates can be said to have wound up being a victim of "petty emotion," do you really think he could have been trying to make himself seem likable if he was willing to make himself out to have received special favors from the gods and to exalt himself, to laud himself, to act arrogantly, before the court? Or is the "grand scheme" of which you speak one you think was cooked up by Xenophon, or perhaps by both Xenophon and Plato—presumably working independently of one another—if you have both accounts of his trial in mind in speaking of a scheme in this connection?
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Eva Gomez
Fledgling

5 Posts

Posted - Jan 30 2013 :  1:36:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ahh, I see! OK, things are much clearer now. What you say makes sense. I don't think that Socrates himself is trying to make himself more likeable, rather that Plato and especially Xenophon are sculpting his innocent image within their dialogues.

I will take a look at the online translation that you mentioned and re-evaluate :)

I'm enjoying the texts very much.

Thank you.

[Very lightly edited to enhance readability -TT]
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