Reputation and Socrates

Essay by neilioCollege, Undergraduate March 2004

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Most people would agree that one's reputation is extremely important in nearly all social situations. Whether it is making a huge business deal or going on a first date, a person's reputation will always be with them and affect their interactions with others. Socrates, along with society, has put a hefty emphasis on reputations for pretty much everything. But reputations do not always reflect the truth. The underlying theme throughout Plato's "The Trial and Death of Socrates" is of the effect of reputations, real and perceived.

"... in my investigation in the service of the god I found that those who had the highest reputation were nearly the most deficient, while those who were thought to be inferior were more knowledgeable" (Plato, p.25)

This quote is saying that those people that are thought to be superior to others are not necessarily held in the highest regards by the gods.

He continues to say that those people who do not feel so highly about themselves are actually more well-informed and are more respected by the gods because of their modesty. This is very typical of how Socrates feels towards those people who feel they have a high reputation. He feels modesty is the greatest attribute and therefore you are looked upon more favorably by the gods for possessing it.

The above quote is the basis of both Socrates' charges and the defense in his trial. He was accused because he developed a reputation for being unholy because of his study of the earth and sky. Also his reputation for being able to discrediting others' is a factor in his accusations. Socrates believes that accusers' whole reason for laying blame on him centered on pride, jealousy, and greed.

"...they would not want to tell the truth, I'm sure, that...