Socrates’ discussion with Meletus stems from Meletus leading the prosecution against Socrates. Socrates is charged with “corrupting the youth and of not believing in the gods in who the city believes, but in other new spiritual things.” During his trial, Socrates is given the chance to defend himself against the accusations. Socrates argues that the charges against him are contradictory and incoherent.
Socrates begins by attacking Meletus, using Meletus’ charge that Socrates is the only person in Athens who is not beneficial to the youth, that he is the only corrupter. Socrates points out that Meletus had never show any concern for the youth until he had the opportunity for a big trial. This is a valid point that Socrates makes and it points out the ridiculousness of the proceedings.
Socrates then traps Meletus into confirming that a man is better off living among good people rather than wicked, corrupted people. He does this by saying that wicked people do harm to the people closest to them while good people do good to those closest to them. Meletus agrees with this which leads Socrates to the point that no person would willingly choose to live among the wicked as it would cause him harm. With this being the case Socrates argues that he cannot be validly charged with willingly corrupting the youth as it would only do he harm. And if he is corrupting the youth, he is not doing it willing. IF this is the case, there is no need for a trial and punishment. Socrates states that if he is unwillingly corrupting the youth, it is necessary to correct him rather than punish him. Socrates gives Meletus too options. Either he is not corrupting the youth (as that would cause him harm, or he is doing it unwillingly. Either way, neither option is a crime worth of death. With this argument, Socrates is able to invalidate the charge of corrupting the youth. It is clear by Socrates description of the wording of the charges that the charges are illogical and serve no basis...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document