Year: 1980 Source: Journal of Value Inquiry, v.14, (1980), p.287-300 SIEC No: 20021074

Xenophon contends that Socrates sought death, availing himself of his indictment to make a desirable end of life. Plato’s dialogues do not permit outright rejection of Xenophon’s claims. To avoid conceptual infirmity the question thus raised should not be put in terms of an allegation of “suicide.” One should read the first tetralogy dialogues as portions of a tragedy whose dramatic issue is the relationship between individual and state. It is not possbile, in principle, that Socrates apparently approved self-destruction. His utterances on this matter are give added interest by recent US judicial decisions. (43 refs)