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Socrates' Defence (Penguin Little Black Classics) Mass Market Paperback – 26 Feb 2015

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; 01 edition (26 Feb. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141397640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141397641
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 0.5 x 16.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Plato (474 BC-347 BC). Plato's works available in Penguin Classics are Republic, The Last Days of Socrates, The Laws, Phaedrus, Protagoras and Meno, Timaeus and Critias, Theaetetus, Early Socratic Dialogues, The Symposium and Gorgias.


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is Plato’s account of his mentor, Socrates, as he met his accusers in Athenian court to defend himself against charges of blasphemy and corrupting the young.

Socrates makes short work of the weak arguments made by his chief accuser, Meletus, through logical deconstruction. What’s interesting is that the defence isn’t really of Socrates against his charges but of his life and philosophy, which is basically what the trial is really about.

His latest troubles began when the Oracle at Delphi announced that “there is no one wiser than Socrates” which puzzled Socrates who maintained that he was not a wise man at all. But he came to realise that he was the only one who was aware of his ignorance while everyone else was ignorant of their ignorance, making him indeed a wise man.

Socrates refuted any charge of atheism - he was a devoutly religious man who cared more deeply about virtue and the soul than anyone, he claimed. The very fact that he spent all of his time demanding people live more philosophically, pursuing thought and virtue over belongings and wealth, pointed to that fact.

Amusingly, he compared himself to a gadfly to the Athenian state, spurring it on act, therefore making him a benefactor and deserving of a salary. Not so amusingly, that was the final straw that led to his death sentence by way of hemlock poisoning.

He was given the choice though to change his ways and live but he kept to his principles, knowing he would die by doing so. If only we could all meet our end with the dignity and fearlessness Socrates did. As he predicted, he became a martyr to the state and his words live on today.
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These books are such lovely additions to my bookshelf. I take one a day on the train to commute into work. They are the size of your hand so fit very nicely into a small purse or bag. I have almost collected the whole 80 copies but my absolute favourites are "Goblin Market" and "How to Use Your Enemies".

I am a bit of a prude about scuffing book covers and keeping books in a good condition - the best thing about these is that they are never out of the house for more than a day. A lovely way to start introducing younger readers to the greats of literature - in bite-sized pieces!
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Short read. It's interesting to see how Socrates responds to people. How he explains himself and how he stands up for what he believes in even when faced with execution. Enjoyed it and would recommend others to read it.
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Socrates speaks with the most bitterness I've ever heard from all of his literature, but it is well deserved. Accused of corrupting the minds of youths, of heresy and of charlatanism, he defends himself to his final breath. Through it all, his arguments add up (if they were not to be considered a little convoluted), yet we all know of his inevitable demise and it feels futile to hope for this great mind to make it out on top.

A recommended read for anybody intrigued in history and politics, ironically not so much for those interested in philosophy as there is little of that here. My only complaint is that Socrates seems to have some degree of animosity towards women, evident part way through the book. I suppose it reinforces the attitude towards them during these historic times though I may have misread or misinterpreted it.
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I loved this book. It was really interesting to read and get the story of what happened all those years ago to one of the greatest minds to have lived.

I don't really even read these types of philosophy books, but this is different and more a retelling of Socrates and his final speech in court.

Really recommend this, it is one of the better Penguin Little Black Classics.
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A classic- insightful, educational , emotional and shows Socrates' brilliance and humility. We can still learn much.
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Beautiful extract from Plato. Much wisdom about how to face death. I nearly said with stoicism but of course that would be very inappropriate for Socrates.
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Excellent for students studying philosophy and religion.
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