The Trial of Socrates: An Analysis and Construction of Socrates Defense
Understanding the decisions made by the jurymen in Socrates trial will always be a mystery, but one can perceive why some would have voted the way that they did. Politically and historically Athens was a thriving place of innovation and philosophical advancements. Athens could very well be divided, morally on various aspects, one of them being which “political” affiliation Athenians related themselves with. Some choices were between the Traditionalists, Sophists or an up and coming ideas of Socratics or Platonics. Militarily, during the life of Socrates, Athens was involved in the Peloponnesian Wars, a set of conflicts between Sparta and Athens, in which Athens ultimately loses. Historically, this time became known as the rule of “The Thirty Tyrants.” In Plato’s Apology it notes that he disobeyed orders given by the Tyrants, which gave a sense of Socrates character and moral beliefs. By understanding the context of Socrates time, which most people forget to take into account, there is an important agenda, overarching lessons that Socrates is essentially trying to convey throughout his trial.
As an Athenian jury member and citizen of Athens I would have voted against Socrates on one accusation, but voted in favor on the other allegation regarding the corruption of the youth charge and maintained his guilt sentence. I would have given Socrates a vote of guilt because the accusations brought before him were fallacious and potentially falsely conceived. I intend to debunk the accusations regarding Socrates position that he did not believe in the God’s of Athens, known as impiety, by sifting through various text to mitigate the offenses Socrates was believed to have committed. On the other hand I intend to convey that he should be found guilty on the count of corruption of the Athenian youth. In deconstructing the accusations brought before Socrates I will also elucidate that during Socrates trial there were some underlying principles and some noticeable ones that he presents in Plato’s Apology.
Debunking the accusations of before Socrates, in Plato’s: The Trial and Death of Socrates, it states that, “So even now I continue this investigation as the god bade me …Then if I do not think he is, I come to the assistance of the god and show him that he is not wise…but I live in great poverty because of my service to the god.” As noted, Socrates acknowledges that there is a supreme being, the accusations that he is impious and does not believe in a “god” hold little to any weight in this instance. The only real argument that can be made against this notion of impiety is at the beginning of Socrates trial he says nothing regarding these allegations brought before him other than Socrates, “contrives to entrap Meletus into explaining that the phrase about not worshipping the gods of the state is meant as an imputation of sheer atheism.” This excerpt alludes that Meletus is inadequate in regards to his allegations of an impious Socrates because, of sheer atheism he can then point out, with triumph to the incompatibility of the two parts of the accusation. Although some would argue that Socrates may be guilty because in his trial he does not explicitly state that he is a follower of the Athenian gods, and many would argue that in of itself is grounds for implications of impiety, but by the same token Socrates does not say that he doesn’t believe in the Athenian Gods also. Essentially, what this brings to the trial is not sense of strong empirical evidence, but more of a humorous approach and nothing more than a legitimate attempt to instill humor in order to silence an accuser, Meletus, who did not dare or could not, explain his own real meaning of this incompatibility. At the time of Socrates trial, there was a contextual notion and fictitious view of Socrates that was portrayed by the famous play by Aristophanes called, The Clouds. In the...
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