Socrates knew the trial brought onto him by three citizens of Athens was not just and the official accusations of corrupting the youth and impiety are not the true reasons for the trial. He was put to death because of his method of challenging others in the search for wisdom and knowledge. Socrates was given the opportunity to defend himself and choose not to beg for his life but praise his life and to honor his mission. He opposed the charges by a cross-examination of the people who put him on trial to show they had not put enough thought into their claims. Socrates' downfall, was that he made his defense in the same method he spent his life work by making many wealthy and powerful people reveal their own ignorance and lack of knowledge. The love of life, however did not outweigh Socrates' love of principle and honor.
It was Socrates' mission to spend his days seeking wisdom. His method to gain wisdom was asking a series of questions of his fellow Athenians. This process would be repeated until an acceptable agreement would be reached or it was determined not to be profitable to go further with the discussion. This tactic, in many cases, pointed out ignorance and irritated the people of Athens. During his defense, Socrates denounced his accusers of not telling the truth and states that many times "he will tell the truth." Socrates soundly defends the charge that he is the only person who is responsible for corrupting the youth in Athens. Through a process of questions with one of his accusers, Socrates concludes "then every Athenian improves and elevates them; all with the exception of myself; and I alone am their corrupter?" (Apology, 4) Metetus the accuser agrees with this statement. By Metetus agreeing that only Socrates has corrupted the youth provides evidence that this claim has little merit. I believe that it is ludicrous to claim that only Socrates corrupts the youth of a city. No one person can have that much influence on people....
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