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Socrates on Trial

Socrates on Trial: A Play Based on Aristophane's Clouds and Plato's Apology, Crito, and Phaedo Adapted for Modern Performance

Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 144
  • Book Info
    Socrates on Trial
    Book Description:

    Complete with production and classroom notes, this modern recasting of the Socrates story will make riveting reading both inside and outside the classroom.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8554-3
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Furry Creek
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)

    More than 2,400 years after his death, Socrates remains an iconic but controversial figure. According to his supporters, he personified progressive Greek ideals of justice, wisdom, and temperance. According to his detractors, he was a corruptor of the young and one of the reasons Athens suffered its humiliating defeat by Sparta in 404 BCE,¹ twenty-seven years after the outbreak of the second Peloponnesian War.

    Some of the most striking accounts discussing this period are contained in the writings of three of Socrates’ contemporaries: the playwright Aristophanes, the philosopher Plato, and the military general Xenophon. All three authors knew Socrates personally...

  5. Production Notes
    (pp. 21-24)
  6. Classroom Notes
    (pp. 25-28)
  7. Pronunciation of Greek Names
    (pp. 29-32)
  8. Socrates on Trial

    • List of Characters
      (pp. 35-36)
    • Act One: Clouds
      (pp. 37-72)

      Welcome everyone. I want to thank you for joining us.

      During Greece’s Golden Age, rather than staying home to be taught by their parents, many young men had begun studying under itinerant teachers calledsophists. It was this perversion of the natural order that led Aristophanes to write theClouds– a play that’s part slapstick comedy, part vulgar gossip, and part bawdy vaudeville show. In fact, some of Aristophanes’ dialogue is almost guaranteed to make you blush!

      Aristophanes’ play tells the story of how a father named Strepsiades takes his lazy, longhaired son – Pheidippides – to be taught by one of...

    • Act Two: Apology
      (pp. 73-104)

      Almost a quarter century after Aristophanes’Cloudswas first performed, Socrates was charged with corrupting the young and failing to recognize the traditional Greek gods. His trial was held just over 2,400 years ago, in 399 BCE.

      Because the trial took place not long after the end of the Peloponnesian War, Athens’ humiliating loss to Sparta was still on many people’s minds. During wartime, it was understood that victory came from two sources: the protection of the gods, and the unwavering loyalty of a city’s young soldiers. So the charge of corrupting the young and failing to recognize the city’s...

    • Act Three: Critoand Phaedo
      (pp. 105-122)

      In Athens, executions were normally carried out immediately following a conviction. But in Socrates’ case there was a delay of about a month. Every year the city sent a ship – theShip of Theseus– to carry an offering to the island of Delos to honour the god Apollo. To maintain ritual purity, executions weren’t permitted until the ship returned with news that the offering had been accepted.

      While Socrates waited in prison, his lifelong friend Crito offered to help him escape. Socrates refused, even though this decision must have been hard for his wife, Xanthippe, to accept.

      To fulfil...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 123-130)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 131-136)