The Death of Socrates
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
It represents the scene of the death of Greek philosopher Socrates, condemned to die by drinking hemlock, for the expression of his ideas against those of Athens' and corrupting the minds of the youth. The painting also depicts both Plato and Crito, with the former sitting ruefully at the edge of the bed and the latter clutching the knee of Socrates. Socrates had the choice to go into exile (and hence give up his philosophic vocation) or be sentenced to death by drinking hemlock. Socrates chose death. In this painting, a red-robed disciple hands a confident Socrates the goblet of hemlock. Socrates' hand pointing to the heavens indicating his defiance of the gods and fearless attitude to his death.