The Philosopher, Socrates was a Greek and he was born in the proximities of 470 B.C in Athens. His father was a sculptor named Sophroniskus. Socrates, therefore, grew up with carving skills learnt from his father. In addition to the carving skills, Socrates studied astronomy and geometry formally.
At first, he was enthusiastic to learn sciences due to his thirst for knowledge but he later despised sciences. His argument was that scientific knowledge could not be proved and thus he made a decision to seek real knowledge. His mother, Phaenarete, was a midwife and thus Socrates, claimed to have taken after his mother by helping boys bear thoughts (Taylor 19) through philosophy.
Apart from the philosophical career that Socrates followed, not much is known about his life. This is primarily because Socrates did not leave behind any written materials. Much of the philosophy and life of Socrates is explained by Plato in his dialogues. Plato lived during Socrates generation, but he was younger than Socrates. He used to attend Socrates’ gatherings and thus his writings about the life of Socrates are highly credited.
Evident among his dialogues is the fact that Socrates married a woman named Xanthippe and bore three sons, Menexenus, Sophroniscus and Lamprocles. Plato also describes the physical appearance of Socrates as unimpressive. He also mentions that Socrates showed a lot of bravery and courage as he served in Deliurn and Ampipolis wars as a soldier (Tredennick 22). Socrates’ inseparable attachment to philosophy started when a friend of his approached the Oracle at Delphi and asked if there was any person wiser than Socrates.
When the Oracle replied that no man was wiser, Socrates got encouraged to advance his philosophical knowledge by comparing his knowledge to the knowledge of other wise people. This led to his invention of the Socratic Method which involves asking a person simple questions followed by implicative questions that makes the person realize that they do not know the subject well (Cline 1).
The shaming of prominent people using the Socratic Method and the communism (anti-democratic) ideas held and taught by Socrates eventually landed him in problems. He was accused of impiety due to his introduction of new philosophical ideas. He was also accused of corrupting the young. After trial, he was found guilty of these charges and executed by poison. As stated earlier, these accusations were politically engineered due to his disparagement of famous wise men and his firm stand on the necessity of communism in Athens.
Although he had chances to escape the execution, he accepted to drink Hemlock and die in front of his friends. This can be seen as a portrayal of the bravery and determination he had learnt as a soldier. He thus chose to die in order for the principles he believed in to hold true. For instance, he held the belief that being under the jurisdiction of the law; he was obliged to conform to what the law said even if it was unfair.
He thus drank hemlock, poison, and died in front of his friends. He died while reminding Crito of a small debt to a certain god. This was in 399 BCE. The debt is an indication that Socrates was extremely poor due to his devotion to philosophy (Taylor 13). He had also neglected his children due to his passion for philosophy. He got substantial criticism form Crito for making the decision to die and leave his children behind.
Cline, Austin. “Biographical Profile of Socrates”. 2010- April 23, 2010,
Taylor, Anne. Socrates. U.K. McMillan Publishing.
Tredennick, Hugh. The last days of Socrates. New York. Barnes & Noble.