NOTES ON SOCRATES THE APOLOGY
Once the death penalty has been announced, Socrates tells thejury that they have made a bad mistake, as all the Greeks willwonder why Athens put to death "that wise man". Socrates knowsthat they will call him this even if they do not believe it. Hepredicts that in the future those who voted for the deathpenalty will be much criticized.Again, Socrates says that grovelling and pleading might havesaved his life, but that he would rather die than be saved bydishonourable defense. He says that this would be likesurrendering on the battle-field, it might save your life butit would not be right. He points out that it is far easier toescape death than to escape doing wrong. So he knows he mustdie but he thinks that the fate of his accusers is worse, thatthey will be convicted by the truth.Socrates remains very cheerful about his fate and feels that itmight indeed be a blessing. He is sure that the divine voicethat has always advised him would have warned him if it werenot so. He is optimistic about death and says that it must beeither of two things: 1 Complete unconsiousness, like a reallylong night's sleep, which is a nice thing, or 2 A change toanother place where we can meet the dead which would befascinating. (He now mentions some of the dead whom he wouldlove to meet such as Homer, Orpheus, Ajax Agamemnon, Odysseusand others). He says that as on earth, he would examine thesepeople and find out which of them is wise and which only thinkthat they are. He points out that at least there one could notbe put to death for doing this.Above all, Socrates advises his friends on the jury, you shouldalways remember that nothing can really harm a good person. Hedoes not bear a grudge against his accusers and all he asks isthat when his sons grow older, that the people there should
"plague them as I plagued you"
. He asks the jury to do just thesame to his sons if they put money or anything else beforegoodness as he has done to the Athenians, that is to scold themand put them on the right path. He finishes off: