Essay The Defence Of Socrates ' Trial

Essay The Defence Of Socrates ' Trial

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The Defence of Socrates chronicles Socrates’ trial, which the elite members of Athenian society

conducted in order to determine whether or not Socrates was guilty of the charges against him. Those

charges included: 1) refusing to believe in the gods of the City; 2) corrupting the youth; and 3)

introducing gods of his own in place of the Athenian deities. Although Socrates believed, along with his

loved ones, Plato, and his students, that he was wrongly accused and was served an injustice by the City

of Athens, he is forced to defend himself and his actions at trial. During the course of his “apology,” it is

evident that Socrates’ pride leads him to advocate more for his philosophy and his goal of prevention of

ignorance than for the preservation of his own life. As a consequence, the elite members of Athenian

society, otherwise referred to as “the jury,” sentenced Socrates to death. The Crito takes place

immediately after Socrates’ conviction and sentence, and shortly before he is scheduled to be put to death.

Socrates’ friend, Crito, sneaks into Socrates’ cell with the indirect permission of the prison guard and

begs Socrates to escape. It is then that Socrates clearly expresses his acceptance of death, a demonstration

of his commitment to civil disobedience and lack of fear for the harsh public opinion that he, his friends,

and his family would face if he refused to take advantage of the available opportunity to escape his


In response to his action to accept the punishment of death over life, Socrates is viewed as a noble

individual and a symbol of integrity to many scholars and readers of the Defence of Socrates and the

Crito. Socrates, however, disregards two of the most valued and ...

... middle of paper ...

...ient Greece: family. In other works written during this time, such

as Medea by Euripides and Antigone by Sophocles, it is evident that family is a very strong cultural value.

In each of these works, the main characters risk their own lives in order to save their family and provide

their family with the best life (Bernholc). Socrates, however, fails to truly consider the implications that

his death would have on his children. Socrates acted immaturely in the way that he responded to the

people of the court when given another chance, and when blatantly acknowledging and understanding that

his death would bring both social and emotional harm to his loved ones. When considering this

characteristic of Socrates, it is clear that he is not a hero nor a martyr, but an individual who was too

stubborn in his beliefs to know when it was time to give up the fight.

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