Socrates’s apology is one of the classics in philosophy. In it, he makes his position clear about his defense and answers his critics about the accusations leveled against him. The defense was prepared as a rebuttal though he knew that he was going to meet his end anyway. There is certain poignancy to his defense as what he said did not matter anyway. The point about his defense is that he wanted to stick to the speech he had prepared and it was planned and was well prepared.
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Socrates answers accusations against his age and health. He states that as he is old, he cannot be accused of lying and further, he is not a position to lie. This is a telling fact that he meant that he was not lying throughout and hence the accusations are false. He also made the point that he was not being wise and made light of his supposed wisdom. This is testament to his modesty and his wisdom, notwithstanding his claims to the contrary, lies in recognizing that there are powers that are wiser than him. The powers that he is alluding to are the gods of Athens.
Socrates was accused of turning children’s minds away from the established morals of the time. He answers this by stating that he was just expressing his opinions and if they run contrary to the established wisdom of the time, there was no way in which he could be held accountable. In hindsight, it appears that he was far ahead of his time and hence some of his ideas were not liked while he was alive.
The fact that Socrates is revered as a famous philosopher now is testimony to the fact that his ideas lived on after he died and there was an unmistakable sense of truth to what he said. The point about Socrates not bending his statements to reflect the mode of thinking in his time shows that he was trying to make the point that one should not change one’s position because of fear of death and this is the central point to his defense.
The point that he made about lying shows that he is not afraid of death and would not change his testimony because of the fear of death. The high point of his defense comes when he states that a person cannot be executed for his ideas and the way to judge him should be in accordance with the law and not on the basis of his ideas. Of course, there was some exaggeration to his claims of serving the poor and god as his ideas clearly showed that he considered things to the contrary.
The fact that he stuck to his ideas till the end reflects on his ability to stand by his ideas and not bow down to the authorities and change his stance. The famous story of Socrates not trying to escape though he was given a chance by his followers shows his commitment towards his ideas and beliefs. In my opinion, this is the most impressive part about him and for this, if not anything else, he is my hero. There is an acceptance of his ideas now because the present times are different from the times he lived in. And his legacy lives on.
Jowett, Benjamin. Socrates’s Apology. The Internet Classics Archive. Web.