Socrates’s ‘Apology’

free essaySocrates was born to Sophroniscus and Phainarete in 469 B.C in Alopeke, which is a village under Athens jurisdiction. His father was a stonemason and Socrates was also trained as a stonemason in his youthful age. Socrates married Xanthippe and had three sons whom he left at a young age at the time of his execution. From his life story, it is seen that Socrates’s life ended in the worst way ever experienced in Athens (Plato 25).

Socrates’s accusers, in this case, include Meletus, a poet who made two charges against Socrates as he refused to acknowledge the gods recognized by the state of Athens. The other charge against Socrates by Meletus was introduction of different and new gods and corruption of the youth. The second accuser against Socrates was Anytus who was a middle-class politician within Athens. Anytus’s charges against Socrates were on the concern that Socrates’s criticism of the Athenian institution endangered Athenian democracy the city had recently struggled to gain. Socrates got also accused of working close with persons who were believed to be behind the 404 overthrow of the Athenian democracy (Plato 27). Even after restoration of the democracy, Socrates continued ridiculing such aspects of the Athenian democracy as selection of leaders by majority vote. From the charges, it is also evident that there was the point of an additional personal grip between Socrates and Anytus. Socrates was believed to be in a relationship with Anytus’s son though the exact kind of the relationship is not known, but Socrates was found to be bisexual and slept with some of his young students (Plato 28).

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The third accuser who came out boldly was Lyncon who was described as an Orator. In his perceptions, Socrates believed that orators were less concerned with the pursuit of truth than with the use of their practical skills for obtaining influence and power. Lyncon accused Socrates of being a threat to the democracy he valued (Plato 31). In Socrates’s defense statement, the tone is appealing and refreshingly direct. Socrates contrasts himself with his accusers along the truth dimension. At the end of his speech, he asks the jurors to grant him a courtesy in that it is his first time before a law court and the manner of the court speech is strange to him. He further asks to be granted what he thinks he has a right to claim. From this statement, Socrates’s plea is that, being a stranger in the land of law, he should therefore be accorded the right of a stranger and allowed to speak in his native language (Plato 33).

Besides, in his statement he feels that the accusers have falsely accused him in that all they said was valueless and lies. In his defense statement, Socrates informs the jury that he never advocated for an activity that was unjust for any human being. He also states to the jury that he never set himself up as a teacher to any citizen. In his third statement, he says that he talked to everyone without charging any fee in contrast to his accusations. In his fourth report, he tells the jury that he is not responsible for making any person either a bad or a good citizen and lastly informs the jury that he never talked to someone secretively, but he did it to all in public (Plato).

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In his apology, Socrates also encourages the jury to take a legal action and promises to obey the law as expected of any citizen. There were many of his friends who paid him a visit after the jury found him guilty and gave him pieces of advice such as to flee the country, but he stood to his words and said that the law should take it course and he would abide by the law (Plato 33). From the claims of the Delphic oracle, the initial and final interpretation of the Delphic oracle can be understood in a broader perspective. The Delphic oracle spoke about Socrates as a wise person in Athens. The claim made Socrates doubt these claims and he was set out to disprove the oracle at Delphi. This claim of being the most thoughtful Athenian made him undertake an examination that led to his initial and final interpretation of the Delphic oracle. In his review, Socrates took into account three groups whose members claimed to have knowledge (Plato 35).

The first group in his examination included politicians and people prominent in public affairs. In his findings, Socrates stated that they could not explicitly defend their views or even define them in the most appropriate manner. With respect to politicians, Socrates was particularly concerned with political and moral matters, as well as the question of how people should live and the nature of justice. The conclusion that Socrates made on the basis of the examination is that politicians did not know what they claimed to know well about these matters (Plato 37).

The second group examined by Socrates was poets. In ancient Greece, poets played a significant role in the society as their works often described the gods’ lives and how people should relate to one another in the society. In Athens, poets were believed to be inspired by the muses. However, in the Socrates’s findings about poets, he stated that their poems were like a kind of divine inspiration, but contained no knowledge just as he anticipated. Hence, he never meant that their poetry was false, but they did not have knowledge of what they taught (Plato 39).

The third group examined by Socrates included craftspeople also known as artisans. The rise of mathematics and detailed form of observation led to the emergence of a great number of arts in Athens. Socrates was impressed with this and thought of the knowledge of artisans relating to unique techniques. Socrates became critical of them since artisans believed that their technical expertise gave them the ability to have political and moral knowledge. However, Socrates found that artisans just as politicians had no knowledge of ethical and policy matters concerning Athens and its people as a whole (Plato 41).


After undertaking the examination of these groups, Socrates boldly gave a final interpretation that the oracle at Delphi might be correct about him. In no instance, Socrates claimed to know what he was not aware of. He also knew very well that he was ignorant, but the Athenians who thought they were wise became ignorant of their ignorance (Plato 41). Throughout his life, Socrates claimed that thinking was essential inside the polis, which was a city-state in early Greece. Based on his opinions, he seemed to be sure that value was the solitary actual deterrence for unawareness of illiteracy since it is the first review that stretches truths in fundamental interrogation to a better degree. In his opinions and insights, Socrates thought that an unexamined life was a valueless existence. Lest a person has obtained honest information and halts raising queries, he or she will be trapped, thinking that he or she distinguishes when he or she does not discern. The confidence weakens human reasonableness, which is the mission for information and sense, but human life of sham can never lead to the acquisition of this reasonableness. From this aspect, Socrates is found to claim that the unexamined life is not worth living. In this kind of life, there is the lack of interest in examining beliefs about the world and people themselves. In either way, in his examination Socrates appears to be right in that without philosophy human beings are stuck in ignorance since they refuse to accept or acknowledge the truth (Plato 43).

Additionally, after the verdict Socrates gave his prophecy to those who convicted him. In his prophecy, Socrates stated that as soon as he was dead, vengeance would fall upon those who convicted him with a punishment that would be much more painful than his killing. From this prophecy, it is evident that people did not expect to hear such words from an individual who believed the fact that everyone did what he or she felt like doing and believed to be the best for him or her. From his statement, it is also obvious that Socrates was a bit upset about his conviction and more fearful of death than he had previously proclaimed (Plato 43).

All things considered, the paper explicitly provides an in-depth consideration of Socrates’ ‘apology’ for philosophy. From the article, one gets to understand charges that were brought forward before the jury against Socrates. The three accusers who were Anytus, Meletus, and Lycon filed a case against Socrates, which Plato thought to be motivated by some force against Socrates. Socrates got accused of refusing to acknowledge the gods recognized by the state of Athens. The other charge against Socrates was introduction of different gods and corruption of the youth. Moreover, Socrates was accused of encouraging children to go against their culture that had been there from the time immemorial. Other accusers such as Anytus were critical of the Socrates’s criticism of the Athenian institution that endangered Athenian democracy. Lastly, Socrates stressed the need for philosophy in the polis by stating that “without philosophy people tend to be ignorant of their ignorance,” which is also applicable to the present world.