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The truth about identity in "The Apology" and "The Iliad"

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  1. Socrates in "The Apology"
  2. Achilles in "The Iliad"
  3. Oedipus in "Oedipus the King"

Greek texts often emphasize the relationship between the community and the individual, and often with tragic results for the individual who chooses to fully express his individuality. The characters who are the centerpieces of ancient Greek literature, then, are those who, alone in that particular story, seek self-knowledge. While it is a common enough trope for a character to seek an understanding of himself, not every character is equally successful. Plato's description of Socrates in "The Apology" conveys an intensely powerful perception of, and defense of, his selfhood, but at the same time something of an unwillingness to see himself honestly as his peers do.

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