His philosophic activity in the public arena now

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his philosophic activity in the public arena. Now, ~0.wever,.~e says a divine and daimonic voice opposes his prac- ticIng politICS because it is too dangerous. How can these two accounts be reconciled? . The comparison to Achilles' was part of a Socratic boast which reached its peak in his tacit effort to replace Homer as a new kind of educator. The failure of that boast, shown by the jury's hostile reaction to his claim, required a second image to correct the misle~ding impression left by the first. The manly and pow- erful Achilles was replaced by the tiny, defenseless, and exas- perating horsefly. Socrates' brief venture into politics-his pres- ent defense speech-seems to reach exactly the end "pre- dicted" by the daimonion: he will be condemned to death. He lived his life prior to the trial in accordance with the "fine" (noble) dictates of the daimonic voice, which kept him in a pri- vate station. But now that he is seventy years old, the voice does not obstruct his political action. Socrates later calls it "amazing" that the daimonion did riot oppose the way he made his defense speech (40a3). It is amazing because the daimonic sign seems to permit what it earlier forbade, Socrates' risking of his life "fight- 182 . Socrates as Private Man ing for justice" in public. Socrates' old age may help to account for the change: no matter what happens, he cannot now be far. from death (38c5-7). Socrates' manliness in public, then, is only a recently acquired virtue at best. Through most of life he avoided acting "as one ought" with respect to ordinary public activity (32e4).He did not aid justice, because his daimonion, agreeing with his own calculations of death and danger, op- posed him. If it is unjust not to promote justice, then Socrates did injustice by shirking political action. Socrates' "divine and daimonic" sign is mentioned here only incidentally, to account for his refraining from entering politics. .The bulk of the section is a narration of Socrates' quarrels with the governments under which he has lived. He tells two stories of· his conflicts with the democracy and the recently deposed oligarchy in Athens. But we must resist the temptation to follow Socrates' lead in rushing past the question of the daimonion. In the .context the strongest reason to linger is his casual but nonetheless jolting admission that his daimonic voice was the main target of ' the impiety charge: he says Meletus "made a comedy" over it in the indictment. 1 We have already seen that Socrates equates daimons, demigods, and heroes in the Apology (27d4-28al, 28c). His com- parison to Achilles, and the parallel passage from the Cratylus on daimons and heroes, suggested that Socrates, the daimonic man who possesses "human wisdom," isa demigod and hero. 2 This equation, having been formally delineated, stands in need of explanation. and interpretation. When Socrates discussed the difference between his own wisdom and the pretended wisdom of the sophists earlier in his defense, he called his wisdom "hu- man," and theirs "greater than human, or else I cannot say what it is" (20d6-e2). This

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