Socrates Defense Essay

852 words - 3 pages

The accusers, Meletos, Anytos, and Lycon, are all young and trying to make a name for themselves. They begin by telling everyone not to be deceived and to take caution because Socrates is a “clever speaker”. According to Socrates, the difference between him and his accusers is that he speaks the truth. He is on trial for two items, which include, corrupting the youth and impiety. Socrates tells everyone that he has no experience with the court and he will speak the way he is used to by being honest and direct. Socrates explains that his behavior is from the oracle of Apollo at Delphi.      
The oracle was asked if anyone was wiser than Socrates was. The answer was no, there was no man wiser. He could not believe this oracle, so he sets out to disprove it by finding someone who is wiser. He goes to a politician, who is thought wise by himself and others. Socrates does not think this man to be wise and tells him so. As a consequence, the politician hated Socrates and so did the others who heard the questioning. He questioned politicians, poets, and craftsmen. He finds that the poets do not write from knowledge, but by genius and inspiration.
Meletos charges Socrates with being a corrupter of the youth, and he does not believe in the gods of the State, and has other new divinities of his own. Socrates makes three main points in his examination of Meletos. First, Meletos has accused Socrates of being the only corrupter, while everyone else improves the youth. Second, if Socrates corrupts the youth, either it is intentional or unintentional. If the corruption was unintentional, then the court is not the place to resolve the problem. The other possibility is that he does not corrupt them at all. Third, in frustration, Meletos accuses Socrates of being nonbeliever, at the same time he claims Socrates teaches new gods. Thus, Meletos contradicts himself. Socrates argues that fear of death is foolish, because it is not known if death is a good or an evil, thus there is no reason to fear death. Socrates claims that his mission is in service to God.
Socrates does not throw himself on the mercy of the court. Many would bring in their children to win pity. However, he does mention that he has three young children and he tells the jury about their responsibility to ignore the appeals to pity and judge the truth. Despite Socrates' speech, the jury finds him guilty as...

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