Socrates implies at the beginning of his speech that his fate is doomed because the people who judge him believe in the persuasive falsehoods and won’t be willing to listen to the truth. The death of Socrates also reveals the internal fallacy in Athenian democracy. The consequence of a recalcitrant philosophy stands against the whole city is written, because the gulf between the belief of the society and the philosophy is impassible. Socrates’s way of living seems to be unreasonable for most people, and as the same time is not suitable for the proper operation of society which doesn’t want civilians to question the essence of life. However, Socrates shifts the focus of philosophy from the heaven to the earth.
Impiety is the lack of reverence for the gods and other sacred things. As well another major claim was that Socrates was corrupting the children of Athens. He also was believed to be an atheist, even though Socrates claimed to have a strong belief in the gods; he even believed “The god has commanded me to examine men, in oracles and in dreams and in every which the divine will was ever declared” (pg. 43). Socrates denied all of these charges and claimed his innocence.
Socrates Socrates spent his time questioning people about things like virtue, justice, piety and truth. The people Socrates questioned are the people that condemned him to death. Socrates was sentenced to death because people did not like him and they wanted to shut him up for good. There was not any real evidence against Socrates to prove the accusations against him. Socrates was condemned for three major reasons: he told important people exactly what he thought of them, he questioned ideas that had long been the norm, the youth copied his style of questioning for fun, making Athenians think Socrates was teaching the youth to be rebellious.
Aristophanes challenges the audience, and Greek culture as a whole, by offering a different view on the answers and directions of life, than that of the gods. He denounces the parables and explanations to answers in life that involve the gods. Instead he explains that such things as the aerial whirlwind, and especially the clouds, are the reasoning behind all of natures actions. On the surface these comments were seen as a mockery and very humorous. Underlying this humor is a scary truth, most likely ignored by the congregations witnessing this play.
He believed that the gods were benevolent beings and disagreed with the written legends that depicted them as evil. Most Greeks did believe the pessimistic theological speculation of popular poets, and Socrates' failure to follow this trend likely contributed to his being accused of neglecting the gods. As for the charge of introducing new deities, it was actually a common practice for Greek cities to modify their roster of public gods. Therefore, Socrates' only crime may have been doing so on his own rather than following changes in accepted religious dogma. A second charge against Socrates was that of "corrupting the youth."
For example, whenever he exchanged answers with The Laws it was an “you’re wrong,” where as it when it came to Critos it was an, “I can’t.” Socrates demonstrates that the conversation that each situation differed was that one was with an audience he could trust and one that he could not. Socrates had demonstrated The Laws that were unjust and had to come up with some “smart” way to get him behind bars because he recognized that both sides knew nothing, including him. He explains to them that their wisdom should be classified more as ignorance because all that Socrates has ever tried to do was to help the citizens of Athens. His goal was to influence the community on how one can live a more valuable life by listening to the truth rather than falsely accusations stated by the
One such incidence is the case of Aristophanes who at religious festivals mocked not only Zeus, but Dionysus whom the festivals were held in the honor of. What made Socrates the exception to the rule? Was it because so many people listened to what he had to say? Or because he was so persistent, that even in the face of death he still refused to stop spreading his thought? Either way, if there were others, who showed more disrespect, and outright mockery towards the gods, why were they not punished, what made Socrates so dangerous to the Athenians?
Plato's account of Socrates' Apology In Plato's account of Socrates' apology, Socrates is brought to trial on the charges that he corrupted the youth of Athens through his teachings, and that he did not believe in the gods that the state believed in. Throughout the account, the argument against him comes across as unreliable and biased. Therefore, Socrates is innocent of the charges laid against him by Meletus, Anytus, and Lycon due to the facts that the jury consisted of men that already held a biased opinion of him, he does not make a living by corrupting the youth, and the accusation that he created his own deities was never validated. Socrates enters into his trial acknowledging the fact that he is going up against a jury of men, many of whom already have a biased, negative view towards him. He explains that many of them, though not knowing him personally, feel as though they do based solely on word of mouth, weakening the validity of the trial against him.
Socrates also taught Pheidippides that Greek Gods should not be credited (Aristophanes 247). These examples provide the foundation for Meletus’ new accusation that Socrates does injustice by corrupting the youth. During this time, the youth respected the elderly and worshipped the Greek Gods and Goddesses. Pheidippides’ physical condemnation of his father suggests that he neither respects nor honors his father, which goes against societal virtues and norms. From Meletus’ point of view, Socrates “corrupted the young” by teaching dishonor to one’s elders and disbelief of the Gods.
His execution was not justified because the charges that were brought against him were false and unfounded. The fist crime that Socrates was charged with was that of impiety. This charge was invented primarily to discredit him and make him unpopular with the citizens. The charge was that of not acknowledging the same gods that the state believed in. Throughout the book, Socrates refers numerous times to the fact that it is because of the gods that things are as they seem to be.