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It Is 300 Bc. You Are A Platonist. Your Friend, Also A Student, Has Just Been Condemned To Death By The Athenian Court. Write A Letter Preparing Him For His Last Hours

2925 words - 12 pages

My dear Aias,For the first time in a long time I am lost for words, so there is some good news for you at least. I wonder is it will do any good to ask how you are feeling. I think it is probably obvious that you have many negative feelings. I propose then that we spend the duration of this letter meditating on what your execution implies so that you me be better prepared for the inevitable. I can not think of a greater gift to give you than that of a peaceful death.I am almost drawn to a case I have read and heard about it my studies. You will undoubtedly know about the wisest Greek in history, Socrates. There are parallels between you case and his, one which occurred almost exactly a ...view middle of the document...

Like Socrates, this must remain the case, even in death.You could argue, had Crito, that if you were wrongly accused, and wrongly judged, isn't the right thing to do to go against it? Let us consider the argument put forward by Socrates. To begin with, do we agree that there is just as much harm in the retaliation as there is in the original action? After all, to kill a man for killing another is not so much justice as two deaths. You too become a murderer. It is therefore the right decision to accept the wrongs committed against you. In the end it is not you who has lost their virtue.Now, whether or not you were wrongly judged, you were judged by the City. As I have said there is no dishonour in this. You may find dishonour, though, in the fact that it is not just the Council who have judged you, but most probably everyone who knows you, and perhaps a number of people who do not. Why should you care? Let them think of you as a criminal, because you know you have your convictions, and although they have caused you to be condemned to death, you are still a good person.While you must be reserved, you must also be responsible. Your actions have one way or another cause you to be in this situation. If you can truly say that you were right, then be unrepentant. Like Socrates, you face your execution to show that you are unrepentant for the actions which you know are right. As he said, they could set him free and tell him not to do it again, but he would continue to do it because he knew it was right. Draw from this, Aias, you are responsible for you actions and you know they are right, so do not change them, even if it will cost you your life.I know what you are thinking. It does not bring only you in to disrepute but your entire family. But does it? I have told you to graciously accept your death as Socrates did. There is no cause to find disrepute in this. When people think of this they will say 'there was a man who died honourably for the good of the City'. It is this you should comply with, not just for yourself but for the benefit of those who know you.Yes, I could argue that it will make me look like a coward for not attempting to save you, but I prefer to think that I will look like a good friend. Do not spend your last embers thinking of how it will harm others, because in duty there is no harm. If I felt that my not helping you escape brought dishonour to my name, it must surely be pointed out that like you I have my duty. It would be wrong of me to go against the wishes of the City in such a way.You must surely see now that your position is one that you are responsible for and you should accept this. Through this acceptance I hope comes some clarity which will make your situation more bearable. If in these last hours you feel discomfort, think back to what we have read about the last days of Socrates, and envision that scene. I hope it will allow you to die with your head up, as it were.While all this is good, you are likely still aware of...

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