Did Socrates Commit Suicide and Why?
Essay title: Did Socrates Commit Suicide and Why?
Did Socrates commit suicide and why?
Upon taking the ethics class and learning and understanding the teachings of great philosophers such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle I am even more driven to gather more knowledge about ethics as well as information about the above mentioned philosophers who have been instrumental in shedding light into the complex view on ethics. This is why I chose this topic, in order to explore whether Socrates actually did commit suicide and why he did so. After being familiar with the teachings and views of Socrates I believe that without doubt he was indeed a great man with great attributes and intellect. For a person as such who possessed such pedigree to even think of committing suicide is hard to imagine and fathom. The very man who is acclaimed to be the person solely responsible for laying the foundation of western philosophy, to commit one of the most cardinal and ethically unjust sins is worth pondering over and trying to understand for an answer.
I believe it is imperative to first of all understand the period and nature of environment Socrates lived in. Socrates lived during a time period where the transition from the height of the Athenian empire to its decline took place. Such a decline took place at the hands of Sparta where Athenians faced defeat in the Peloponnesian war (2006). Thus this was a time period where the Athenians were recovering from the humiliating defeat from Sparta. This was also a time in culture where Greeks believed and thought of gods and goddesses as being associated with protecting particular cities. They believed that Athens was protected by the Greek goddess Athena (2006). These aspects have great significance in shaping up the death of Socrates. Because most of the teachings and beliefs of Socrates went against the belief of Athena and her godly existence, the people of Athens became quite irritated and frustrated with Socrates. The last thing they desired was to have one man in the form of Socrates questioning Athena and subjecting all Athenians to yet another painful punishment at her hands. Thus the entire false accusations were built around this aspect and Socrates was brought to trial. (2006). Even though Socrates had strong valid arguments against the accusers it all fell in deaf ears and the unfortunate, wrong verdict was brought forward declaring that Socrates is guilty and that he was to be sentenced to death by drinking a cup of hemlock. The court stated that Socrates was guilty of impiety and of corrupting the Athenian youth through his teachings (2006).
Upon being sentenced to take his own life drinking a cup of hemlock (2006) which in turn would mean committing suicide, Socrates went ahead with it even though there were many opportunities where he could gone into exile by escaping from prison. (Bond, 2006). This is why people to date find it hard to believe why such a person with such intellect, virtue and knowledge would desire to take his own life even though there were better alternatives at hand. But upon reading and researching for my paper I began to understand what a great man Socrates was even while committing suicide. True, there is significant evidence that he himself took his life by committing suicide which by any moral standards is simply wrong. Socrates was a believe that being born and raised in Athens