The Apology: the Trial and Death of Socrates

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The Apology is Plato's account of Socrates defense against the charges that Meletus, Anytus and Lycon had brought before the Athenian court. These charges we impiety and confusing the minds of the youth.

In the beginning of his defense he points out that there had been previous accusations against him. He had been accused of being a sophist - who were people that taught the art of rhetoric not based on truth, and made the weaker argument strong - he was accused for questioning things above the heaven and below the earth. Socrates explains to the court that the Oracle of Delphi had told a dear friend of his that Socrates is the wisest man. He could not believe it, so he started meeting with reputed wise men and have discourses with them. Here he realized that he had human knowledge and they had technical knowledge and also that he was aware of his ignorance and that made him wiser.

He goes on to provide certain reason why he might not be liked, and he embellishes that by showing his piety and strong belief in the gods. However, he points out the awareness that they may be angry and the reasons why, "...You perhaps might be angry, like people awakened from a nap, and might slap me..."(Plato, 31a4). He goes on to make certain points during his defense and what he has learned through all these years. His defense is obedience and disbelief that he could be the wisest man. He brings back cases of his youth to show his obedience to the gods just as he had for authority.

After the jury finds Socrates guilty, he is surprised at the fact that it was such a close case. He feels as though he has proved something to Meletus, Anytus and Lycon because some saw the goodness in him. At the end of his defense he speaks about death and how he's not afraid of it, because he knows he is a good man. However when it comes time to propose a punishment, he asks for a small fine and to be allowed to hold up public discourses. In the end he is given the death penalty by...
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