The Apology of Socrates: Guilty or Innocent?

943 Words4 Pages
The Apology of Socrates: Guilty or Innocent?

In any case of law, when considering truth and justice, one must first look at the validity of the court and the system itself. In Socrates' case, the situation is no different. One may be said to be guilty or innocent of any crime, but guilt or innocence is only as valid as the court it is subjected to. Therefore, in considering whether Socrates is guilty or not, it must be kept in mind the norms and standards of Athens at that time, and the validity of his accusers and the crimes he allegedly committed. Is Socrates guilty or innocent of his accusations?

What exactly is Socrates being accused of? "Socrates is guilty of engaging in inquiries into things beneath the earth and in the heavens, of making the weaker argument appear the stronger, and of teaching others these same things" (29). Socrates is charged with impiety, a person who does not believe in the gods of Athens. Socrates defends this charge, claiming that he was propositioned by the gods through the Oracle of Delphi, to question people's wisdom. He states, "...but when god stationed me, as I supposed and assumed, ordering me to live philosophizing and examining myself and others...that my whole care is to commit no unjust or impious deed." By claiming that defense, Socrates manages to sway Meletus toward his point. This point being that Socrates cannot both be atheistic and to believe in demons, for this would contradict his not believing in gods at all, s...

... middle of paper ...

... a criminal matter nor a strain on the Athenian society, but a challenge to an oppressive and aristocracy ruling class. Socrates became a symbol of true wisdom and knowledge, a symbol that needed to be disposed of for the elites to remain the power holders in society.

Works Cited and Consulted:

Plato. "The Apology of Socrates." West, Thomas G. and West, Grace Starry, eds. Plato and Aristophanes: Four Texts on Socrates. Itacha, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997

"Plato." Literature of the Western World, Volume 1. 5th edition by Brian Wilkie and James Hurt. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 2001. 1197-1219.

"Plato." The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces, Volume I. 6th ed. NY: W.W. Norton and Co., 1992. 726-746.

More about The Apology of Socrates: Guilty or Innocent?

Open Document