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Below is a pair of reading passages followed by several multiple-choice question. Carefully read the passages and choose the best answer for the question that follows.
Victor Hugo, famous for works such as Les Miserables, which depicts life during the French Revolution, had a son, Charles, who was accused of criticizing a public execution-a punishable offense in Paris at the time. In the first passage, delivered in , Hugo entreats the court to grant mercy in sentencing his son.
Socrates, one of the greatest philosophers in world history, was executed in B.C. The second passage recounts parts of Socrates' last speech before the judges of the Greek court condemned him to death.
GENTLEMEN OF THE JURY:- If there is a culprit here, it is not my son-it is myself-it is I!-I, who for these last twenty-five years have opposed capital Punishment-have contended for the inviolability of human life-have committed this crime, for which my son is now arraigned. Here I denounce myself, Mr. Advocate General! I have committed it under all aggravated circumstance-deliberately, repeatedly, tenaciously. Yes, this old and absurd lex talionis-this law of blood for blood-I have combated all my life-all my life, gentlemen of the jury! And, while I have breath, I will continue to combat it, by all my efforts as a writer, by all my words and all my votes as a legislator! I declare it before the crucifix; before that victim of the penalty of death, who sees and hears us; before that gibbet, to which, two thousand years ago, for the eternal instruction of the generations, the human law nailed the Divine!
In all that my son has written on the subject of capital punishment-and for writing and publishing which he is now before you on trial-in all that he has written, he has merely proclaimed the sentiments with which, from his infancy, I have inspired him. Gentlemen jurors, the right to criticize a law, and to criticize it severely-especially a penal law-is placed beside the duty of amelioration, like a torch beside the work under the artisan's hand. This right of the journalist is as sacred, as necessary, as imprescriptible, as the right of the legislator.
What are the circumstances? A man, a convict, a sentenced wretch, is dragged, on a certain morning, to one of our public squares. There he finds the scaffold! He shudders, he struggles, he refuses to die. He is young yet-only twenty-nine. Ah! I know what you will say-"He is a murderer!" But hear me. Two officers seize him. His hands, his feet, are tied. He throws off the two officers. A frightful struggle ensues. His feet, bound as they are, become entangled in the ladder. He uses the scaffold against the scaffold! The struggle is prolonged. Horror seizes on the crowd. The officers-sweat and shame on their brows-pale, panting, terrified, despairing-despairing with I know not what horrible despair-shrinking under that public reprobation which ought to have visited the penalty, and spared the passive instrument, the executioner-the officers strive savagely. The victim clings to the scaffold and shrieks for pardon. His clothes are torn-his shoulders bloody-still he resists.
At length, after three-quarters of an hour of this monstrous effort, of this spectacle without a name, of this agony-agony for all, be it understood-agony for the assembled spectators as well as for the condemned man-after this age of anguish, gentlemen of the jury, they take back the poor wretch to his prison. The people breathe again. The people, naturally merciful, hope that the man will be spared. But no-the guillotine, though vanquished, remains standing. There it frowns all day in the midst of a sickened population. And at night, the officers, reinforced, drag forth the wretch again, so bound that he is but an inert weight - they drag him forth, haggard, bloody, weeping, pleading, howling for life-calling upon God, calling upon his father and mother-for like a very child had this man become in the prospect of death-they drag him forth to execution. He is hoisted on to the scaffold, and his head falls! And then through every conscience runs a shudder.
FOR the sake of no long space of time, O Athenians, you will incur the character and reproach at the hands of those who wish to defame the city, of having put that wise man, Socrates, to death. For those who wish to defame you will assert that I am wise, tho I am not. If, then, you had waited for a short time, this would have happened of its own accord; for observe my age, that it is far advanced in life, and near death. But I say this not to you all, but to those only who have condemned me to die. And I say this too to the same persons. Perhaps you think, O Athenians, that I have been convicted through the want of arguments, by which I might have persuaded you, had I thought it right to do and say anything so that I might escape punishment. Far otherwise: I have been convicted through want indeed, yet not of arguments, but of audacity and impudence, and of the inclination to say such things to you as would have been most agreeable for you to hear, had I lamented and bewailed and done and said many other things unworthy of me, as I affirm, but such as you are accustomed to hear from others.
But neither did I then think that I ought, for the sake of avoiding danger, to do anything unworthy of a freeman, nor do I now repent of having so defended myself; but I should much rather choose to die having so defended myself than to live in that way. For neither in a trial nor in battle is it right that I or any one else should employ every possible means whereby he may avoid death; for in battle it is frequently evident that a man might escape death by laying down his arms and throwing himself on the mercy of his pursuers. And there are many other devices in every danger, by which to avoid death, if a man dares to do and say everything. But this is not difficult, O Athenians, to escape death, but it is much more difficult to avoid depravity, for it runs swifter than death. And now I, being slow and aged, am overtaken by the slower of the two; but my accusers, being strong and active, have been overtaken by the swifter, wickedness. And now I depart, condemned by you to death; but they condemned by truth, as guilty of iniquity and injustice: and I abide my sentence and so do they. These things, perhaps, 25 ought so to be, and I think that they are for the best.
In the next place, I desire to predict to you who have condemned me, what will be your fate: for I am now in that condition in which men most frequently prophesy, namely, when they are about to die. I say then to you, O Athenians, who have condemned me to death, that immediately after my death a punishment will overtake you, far more severe, by Jupiter, than that which you have inflicted on me. For you have done this thinking you should be freed from the necessity of giving an account of your life. The very contrary however, as I affirm, will happen to you. Your accusers will be more numerous, whom I have now restrained, though you did not perceive it; and they will be more severe, inasmuch as they are younger and you will be more indignant. For, if you think that by putting men to death you will restrain any one from upbraiding you because you do not live well, you are much mistaken; for this method of escape is neither possible nor honorable, but that other is most honorable and most easy, not to put a check upon others, but for a man to take heed to himself, how he may be most perfect. Having predicted thus much to those of you who have condemned me, I take my leave of you.
But with you who have voted for my acquittal, I would gladly hold converse on what has now taken place, while the magistrates are busy and I am not yet carried to the place where I must die. Stay with me then, so long, O Athenians, for nothing hinders our conversing with each other, whilst we are permitted to do so; for I wish to make known to you, as being my friends, the meaning of that which has just now befallen me. To me then, O my judges-and in calling you judges I call you rightly-a strange thing has happened. For the wonted prophetic voice of my guardian deity, on every former occasion, even in the most trifling affairs, opposed me, if I was about to do anything wrong; but now, that has befallen me which ye yourselves behold, and which any one would think and which is supposed to be the extremity of evil, yet neither when I departed from home in the morning did the warning of the god oppose me, nor when I came up here to the place of trial, nor in my address when I was about to say anything; yet on other occasions it has frequently restrained me in the midst of speaking. But now it has never throughout this proceeding opposed me, either in what I did or said. What then do I suppose to be the cause of this? I will tell you: what has befallen me appears to be a blessing; and it is impossible that we think rightly who suppose that death is an evil. A great proof of this to me is the fact that it is impossible but that the accustomed signal should have opposed me, unless 1 had been about to meet with some good.
You, therefore, O my judges, ought to entertain good hopes with respect to death, and to meditate on this one truth, that to a good man nothing is evil, neither while living nor when dead, nor are his concerns neglected by the gods. And what has befallen me is not the effect of chance; but this is clear to me, that now to die, and be freed from my cares, is better for me. On this account the warning in no way turned me aside; and I bear no resentment toward those who condemned me, or against my accusers, although they did not condemn and accuse me with this intention, but thinking to injure me: in this they deserve to be blamed.
Thus much, however, I beg of them. Punish my sons, when they grow up, O judges, paining them as I have pained you, if they appear to you to care for riches or anything else before virtue, and if they think themselves to be something when they are nothing, reproach them as I have done you, for not attending to what they ought, and for conceiving themselves to be something when they are worth nothing. If ye do this, both I and my sons shall have met with just treatment at your hands.
But it is now time to depart,-for me to die, for you to live. But which of us is going to a better state is unknown to every one but God.
Socrates requests that his sons be punished if they
A. become government officials.
B. take too much interest in wealth.
C. refuse to attend their father's burial.
D. do not follow the teachings of Plato.
E. speak out against the government.