Frederick Douglass And Socrates Research Paper

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Pages: 5

Socrates is one of the most well known philosophers of all time. Best known from Plato’s Apology, Socrates went on trial in Athens and was convicted of corrupting the youth of Athens through questioning the four virtues: piety, justice, courage and temperance. Two other historical figures discussed this semester were Frederick Douglass, who was a slave; and Adolf Eichmann, a train organizer for the Holocaust. This paper will compare and contrast Douglass and Eichmann to Socrates and determine (1) what values are shared; (2) differences between the characters and; (3) whether or not the figure would be perceived as virtuous.

Frederick Douglass was an American slave during the 1800s who is well-known for his speech, “What to
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When Germany lost World War II, Eichmann was captured and put on trial for his crimes against humanity, ultimately being sentenced to death. Eichmann claimed innocence throughout his trial, saying that it would not have mattered if he refused to do his job, because someone else would have done it and he would have been punished, along with pointing out that seeing people murdered horrified him and he did save a personal friend of his from being sent off to the camps. Basically, Eichmann said whatever he had to say to try to escape the death penalty. Although he did save a personal friend and was scarred by the murders, Eichmann did not take the job because someone else would have done it and been more severe, it was because he sought out the approval of his father. Eichmann figured that his father would have to be proud of him for taking an important job in something as big as the Holocaust. Unlike Douglass, Eichmann is the polar opposite of Socrates. For example, during his trial Socrates said, “Now the hour to part has come. I go to die, you go to live” (Cooper 44). Eichmann, on the other hand, says “With the killing of Jews I had nothing to do” (Arendt 22). Unlike Socrates, who explained his side of the story for his defence and accepted his death, Eichmann constantly claims complete innocence and tries to escape his death penalty.