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Published: 14-12-2019

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Literary Analysis of the Euthyphro

Plato’s Euthyphro attributes Socrates and Euthyphro, who is apparently “a expert priest who considers himself an specialist on ritual and piety” (2). Though Socrates acts as although he accepts the reality that Euthyphro has expertise of the divine, as every person else seems to, he challenges his expertise by asking him about piety. The two of them are standing around the king-archon’s court, waiting to go on trial for various items. Socrates has been indicted for getting “a maker of gods, and…[creating] new gods whilst not believing in the old gods” (3), although Euthyphro is prosecuting his own father for murder. The two subjects become intertwined when Socrates discovers that Euthyphro is pressing charges against his own father due to the fact he believes that it would be impious not to just due to the fact of their relation. Given that Euthyphro claims to have authority on what is pious and what is not, Socrates presses him for clarification on the subject in regards to the gods and in undertaking so shows his doubt in the gods just as he was indicted for.

Socrates in no way comes right out and says that he does not think in the gods or what Euthyphro is saying, rather questioning every thing as if he believes that the other man really can help him reach some sort of understanding on the matter and ultimately coming up empty. Euthyphro’s notion of factors that are pious are issues that are loved by the gods, which Socrates refutes by pointing out that different gods love and hate diverse issues, so “what is loved by the gods is also hated by them” (9). Their discussion continues in a equivalent fashion throughout, and they appear to be making progress until Euthyphro’s final reasoning, that the pious is “of all factors most dear to [the gods]”, brings them back to his initial definition that Socrates identified fault in. Thus, the cycle starts again and the query of what makes one thing pious or impious remains unanswered. In failing to prove what is pious and what is impious in relation to the gods, Euthyphro inadvertently shows Socrates that he is appropriate to be skeptical about the gods and these who follow them blindly.
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