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The Death of Socrates

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" The Death of Socrates"

" The Death of Socrates" is a very meaningful, strong painting. It sends out many messages and shows you the emotions from many different standpoints. Painter Jacques-Louis David uses many different elements such as line, light source and color to draw your attention to different parts of the painting. I believe his use of light is the strongest element in the painting. David does a very good job showing different messages that are being perceived during that moment in time. Socrates was all about teaching his students about his beliefs before he died, where as his students were upset about the coming of his death and they were all showing how powerful he was and how badly they all needed him. He reaches for the poison high in a glass to show that he believes it is his time to go; his students cherish their last moments they have with him showing they don't want him to go. Some praise the lord, while others hold their heads shedding tears in disbelief. In the painting Socrates posture is defiant. He sits up straight reaches and points up and holds his head high showing that he truly believes he is doing the right thing not only for himself but also for his society. He believed it was his time to go because of his differing opinions then those of the political power, but he also believed that it was wiser do die when he chose rather than die of old age. Socrates left us with out any of his own writings; therefore all we know about him is based of off art and stories others wrote about him.

Socrates lived during the "Golden Age " (469-399 B.C.E), which was the victory over to invading Persians armies. During this time he experienced Athens disastrous defeat at the end of the Peloponnesian War. This victory transformed the city into a dominant naval power. Athens began to control the funds of the alliance and because of that became known for the culture and architecture. Socrates was the sun of Sophroniscus a famous sculptor of his time. He was an Athenian man who set a standard for much if not all of the western philosophy. He was also known for persuading young men of Athens to question the truth and whether they now what is really real. He spent a lot of time looking into self-character and how and why people act the way we do. He served some time as a solider in the Peloponnesian war then retired from the "active life" to become a stonemason and help raise his family. The next thing on his list of things to do was give up all of his time in order to invent the practice of philosophical dialogue. From here on out he dedicated his time to speak with young citizens of Athens about confidence and different opinions and looks on life. He believed he knew all that was right for the society and he would do anything to keep it strong and alive. This is the time when the painting comes in. Socrates believed that his death was what was best for the society, and because he did not believe that one should suffer, he killed himself by drinking a cup of hemlock. It shows him staying strong and not being afraid to die because he was confident it was what was best even though all those around him did not believe that. He saw that his views turned people against him and he didn't want conflict so he let himself go.

Philosophy is a term that some have a hard time understanding. Some think it means death is a good thing or that you should prepare your self to die your whole life. I'm not saying that is necessarily wrong, but philosophy is more an outlook on our existence, knowledge, beliefs ethics etc. Yes many philosophers believe that death is a good and that you should spend time thinking about how you want to die. Or maybe more so they have a certain time as to when they believe they should die, and when that time comes they will live a happy life and wanting to leave so they can go to god. Philosophy has a lot to do with being on earth for a period of time but then reaching our and going to live with god. Some believe you should spend time thinking about when you will be ready to die, and when that time comes, like Socrates, you will let yourself go. "The Death of Socrates" is a very strong painting in showing the tie between philosophy and death. Socrates (a known philosopher) is

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