Defense of Socrates – The Charges

Categories: Socrates

In “Plato, Defense of Socrates”, Socrates was in trial for his charges for not recognizing the gods of the city or that he was religious or an atheist. Socrates disputed that he is innocent of both charges; corrupting the youth and impiety. Socrates’ defense is failed at the end and he is sentenced to death. He concludes that a simple man should have no concern when it comes to death.

Socrates defends himself towards the costs delivered in opposition to him by way of his prosecutor Meletus in two ways.

One way consists of Socrates’ desire and approach, which he hopes will give justification to the jury why some people dislike him. Socrates then acknowledges the two charges brought against him: not believing in the gods and corrupting the youth. Socrates begins his defense acknowledging that many have accused him for a long time. He has two units of accusers: one set who have accused him recently, and the other of long-standing to whom he was referring to.

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These older accusers mention two major accusations in opposition to Socrates: first, that he does not consider in the gods, but instead teaches physical explanations for heavenly and earthly phenomena; and second, that he teaches how to make a weaker argument overcome a superior argument.

In the first part of the speech, Socrates distanced himself from two distinctive kinds of thinkers at that time. By doing this, he was once rejecting the second accusers’ charges towards him. He distanced himself from the sophists who have been itinerant expert teachers and intellectuals.

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The sophists linked with “turning the weaker argument into the stronger”, however, Socrates had argued that he confessed the truth only in an truthful argument. He opens himself up to the query of what might be the reason that leads to these untrue accusations. He assured no consequences of his teachings; rather, he inspired his followers to have interaction in a special type of inquiry: the quest for intellectual autonomy. Socrates rejected charges against him, that he did not recognize the gods of the city or he was an atheist; rather, he argued that what he was doing was philosophical inquiry; was truly because gods wanted him to do so.

Socrates goes into detail about The Oracle at Delphi, who decided to supply voice to the Greek god Apollo. Socrates’ friend Chaerephon mentioned that was no one wiser than Socrates. Socrates himself was shocked by this. Socrates explains he is not like most of the people he encounters or interacts with, who think they happen to know something when they do not. In order to prove the Oracle wrong, Socrates questioned Athenian men who thought highly of wisom. First, he interrogated the politicians, then the poets, and then the professional craftsmen. In questioning the politicians, he located that although they thought they have been very wise, they did now not in truth be aware of an awful lot of anything at all. Socrates later defends that it is the duty of the god Apollo to question the claims of knowledge. In order to defend himself in opposition to these charges, Socrates calls on Meletus, his primary accuser, and interrogates him in the acquainted structure of the elenchus, or cross-examination. Socrates attracts an analogy with horses, announcing that only horse- trainers, very specialized people, have a nice influence on horses, whereas most human beings would have a negative influence. Surely, Socrates suggests, if it takes such knowledge to improve a horse, it would be unusual to assume that noticeably an awful lot anyone can improve a person. Socrates argument about the charges of corrupting the youth puts him in a difficult position. Even so being blamed by Meletus, Socrates still denies that he did not corrupt the youth consciously and even if he if has corrupted the youth, Socrates states, he should not be brought to trial, as any person who is unwillingly doing wrong is to teach the wrongdoer instead of avoiding them. Socrates’ protection towards the cost of impiety is more direct.

Socrates’ questioning leads Meletus to declare that wicked people like Socrates deliberately do damage to those with which they live in contact, and that this acts to the detriment of all in that society. Being said that, Socrates replies to Meletus that, in doing harm to others and hurting all of society, Socrates would accordingly also be hurting himself, as a member of society. Socrates claims that he cannot perhaps be so silly as to want to hurt himself, and so if he does purpose harm, it ought to be unintentional. And, he concludes, one who unintentionally does harm should be advised and reproved, not tried and punished. To prove meletus wrong, Socrates needs to show that he must have some sort of belief in gods. He advocates that it would be absurd to believe in human matters without believing in humans themselves or in musical matters without having a belief in musicians, and so it must comparatively be absurd to believe in supernatural matters without believing in supernatural beings. Thus, Socrates does have a certain belief in gods, as to him, the only kinds of supernatural beings are gods and children of the gods.

This argument should be taken into consideration as Socrates made clear very thoroughly as to why he shouldn’t be charged and sentenced to death. Wealth and honor are his priorities that he speaks very clearly of next to the inquiry of truth and perfecting the soul. This is the message he teaches to Athens, unless the teaching corrupts them, he knows well enough that he is innocent of the charges that are being laid against him. Socrates’ perspectives on philosophy and religion are that a valuable man has nothing to fear in this life or the next.

In conclusion, Socrates is found guilty on both charges; for not recognizing the gods of the city or that he was religious or an atheist. He is sentenced to death for the charges but he makes clear that he shouldn’t be the one in grave danger; it should be the jury as he will be putting an honest and innocent man to death.

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Defense of Socrates – The Charges. (2020, Nov 28). Retrieved from

Defense of Socrates – The Charges

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