The Apology

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Dramatically, it is horrifying and mesmerising in equal measure, both in its depth of inquiry and its detail. The chronology traces the roots of his dangerous narcissism to an unhappy childhood and describes, with astonishing pathos, the boy whose lonely life was built on false charm and self-delusion.

You were the gift of passion made out of my own sperm and flesh … I would lean close and inhale the sweet scent of your baby breath. I would cover you in your little white blanket, and as I wrapped it around your tiny frame I would feel this sensation of falling, falling tumbling into a milky universe that offered a safety and a delight I had never known.

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Oh Eve, oh Eve, is this your heart inside me? Oh anxiety, Oh loneliness, oh despair.

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Rattling and oinking on and on. Struck like an unctuous pig spinning on a torturous spit of gangrenous self-centredness.

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A double-narrative emerges in the course of the book and it is as much her story as his; we see her change from a naturally effervescent child to a young woman battling with drink, drugs and suicidal self-destructiveness. There are quietly heroic moments of resistance that are both triumphant and tragic for her strength in acute adversity.

The Art of the Apology

In one instance, Arthur Ensler creeps into her bedroom to abuse her and is taken aback by her stiff unresponsiveness. She has wilfully vacated her body — the bodily exile that she speaks of years later. It is the only form of protest left to her and it works to repel him.

In another instance, he stops beating her bare, bloody bottom when she forces a fake smile, despite the pain, and thanks him for it. He never punishes her in the same way again.

This book, in the end, is an act of imaginative empathy that seeks to understand the monster father and turn him into the human one, and also its own form of literary retribution that calls out his crimes. Can creative exhumation of this kind really free an abused adult from a lifetime of childhood suffering? His life and death inspired generations of philosophers in Athens to more deeply investigate the nature of reality, and to question all the traditions of the past.

Commentary on the Apology of Socrates

You can read the full text here , and there is a free audio book version of it on librivox. The joke is centered around the fact that Socrates hardly tried to defend himself at all, and instead mostly doubled down on what got him into trouble in the first place - claiming that the elder "wise" men of Athens didn't know anything worth knowing.

In addition, Plato's title of "Apology" doesn't refer to "saying I'm sorry", as we usually use the word today, but instead refers to its earlier meaning of defending oneself of one's actions or beliefs. So the joke is based around that pun, as Socrates certainly didn't apologize.

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