Should Have Socrates Drank the Hemlock?
Socrates should have drunk the hemlock. In David Hume's "On Suicide", Hume writes "It would be no crime in me to divert the Nile or Danube from its course[...], where then is the crime of turning a few ounces of blood from their natural channel," basically stating that although many people are scared of death it should be widely accepted as it is normal and it is part of the natural order of life, as Hume states earlier in his writing, "nature still continues her progress and operation". First off, Socrates was neither against nor afraid of death, as he stated in many occasions. Secondly, Socrates also agreed with Hume, since he strongly believed that death was extremely natural and not wrong as he said "those of us who think that death is in evil are in error." In addition, Socrates stated in his Apology that he was "advanced in years [...], and not far from death", meaning that because he was such an old man, he was practically on the verge of dying so even if he had not drank the Hemlock he would’ve died soon anyway.
Socrates should not have drunk the hemlock because drinking it made the strong, intelligent, and clever philosopher perceive as a weak individual. Not only a weak soul, but in doing so he looked like a frail and delicate coward that contradicted many of his words that he discussed throughout the years.
David Hume stated that stated that "all animals are entrusted to their own prudence and skill for their conduct in the world; and have full authority"" Socrates had the option and choice to live or to die; unfortunately he made the wrong choice. However, as indicated in my first argument he was under the spotlight, under the pressure, and was basically forced to his own death; a form of suicide that the victim did not want to perform. Although Hume mentioned we have "full authority", that authority can simply be subtracted and belittled by the surroundings of the individual; in this case, the accused and the accusers.
Socrates never wanted to die; he wanted his voice to be heard and his words to be understood. Society on the other hand viewed him as the sinner and the bad influence amongst the young.
You say I have no valid evidence as to how old Socrates is but he brings up the relation between his age to how close he is to dying various times in his Apology, therefore making it clear that either he was an older man or close to the age where most people died back in ancient greek times. For example, after being sentenced to death, he states to the members in his presence, "If you had waited a little while, your desire would have been fulfilled in the course of nature; for I am far advanced in years, and not far from death." Notice his use of the phrase "waited a little while" and the words "far advanced in years". Although no specific age was given, Socrates indeed admitted his age range many times. This is why I still stand by my opinion in that Socrates should have drank the Hemlock because, as he said, he was not far from death anyway and he would’ve rather died right away than live a life, even a short one, full of injustice.
If you know you are innocent why would you proceed to killing yourself? Socrates tried so hard to prove his innocence. He provided sufficient evidence that indicated and demonstrated he was never trying to corrupt the youth. If Socrates wanted to die, why did he continue using his arguing skills throughout the whole trial?
I personally believe that Socrates drank the hemlock to silence the jury and the accusers. Now that he has died what more can they possibly say about the philosopher? And what more chargers can be thrown at him? He did not have to kill himself and he did not want to either.
In The Apology Socrates said that "" if you think that by killing men you can avoid the accuser censoring your lives, you are mistaken; that is not that way of escape which is either possible or honorable"". The accusers wanted Socrates dead for the supposed corruption of the youth, if Socrates indeed did commit this act, death was not the way out of it. He believed that death was the easy way out of it, in other words, the easiest punishment of all.
Towards the end of his argument, Socrates said that "no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death". Again Socrates continues to prove his innocence even at the ending of the trial where he already knows the outcome of the case and his sentencing. He states he is a good man and that no evil should come his way. Yet, he drank the hemlock because disobeying the city"s law and the Athians was something no one dared to do; not even Socrates. He had no other choice but to take his own life.
In conclusion, the only reason Socrates drank the hemlock to his death was because he was pressured and forced to do so. Also because he himself knew he was innocent and by killing himself he had silence the accusers, the jury, and all those that never had faith in him. Even after death, Socrates still won the trial in his own personal way.