Trial and Death of Socrates Essay

2276 Words Dec 13th, 2010 10 Pages
Benjamin Jowett. The Trial and Death of Socrates (Dover Edition). New York: Dover Publications, 1992

“What is the charge? Well, a very serious charge, which shows a good deal of character in the young man, and for which he is certainly not to be despised. He says he knows how the youth are corrupted and who are their corruptors. And I fancy that he must be a wise man, and seeing that I am anything but a wise man, he has found me out, and is going to accuse me of corrupting his young friends. And of this our mother the state is to be the judge. Of all our political men he is the only one who seems to me to begin in the right way, with the cultivation of virtue in youth; he is a good husbandman, and takes care of the shoots first
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Socrates begins his defense by remarking what persuasive speakers his accusers are in contrast to himself. He indicates that he does not expect to get a fair hearing because of the wide-spread rumors about him and that these rumors associate him with the natural philosophers. The problem with that association is that the natural philosophers were widely suspected of atheism because some of them openly advocated atheism. “Well, then, I will make my defence, and I will endeavor in the time which is allowed to do away with this evil opinion of me which you have held for such a long time; and I hope that I may succeed, if this be know that to accomplish this is not easy—I quite see the nature of the task. Let the event be as God wills: in obedience to the law I make my defence.” (p. 20). This statement is a clue as to what Socrates personal beliefs are on acting just and with piety. With his words, he shows the court that although he does not agree with the charges, he will act as the law has been written for all of the citizens of Athens. He does not expect special treatment and his acceptance of his fate through “God wills” is that of a pious nature. The “God wills” line is sort of a slap in the face to those accusing him because, for Socrates to put his fate in Gods’ hands, it goes against the very nature of the accusations of his atheist

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