NOTES ON SOCRATES

Socrates goes on to point out that many people enjoy his company as they like to hear the supposedly wise being questioned. He says that if any of them had grown up and realised that he had been a bad inflluence, they would have said so, but none of them did, nor even their families. Socrates says that if Meletus were right and he was a corrupter of the young, he should then be calling their parents as witnesses, but the fathers of these young men would not speak against Socrates. Quite the opposite, they think that he is great. Therefore, Meletus is lying.

He then says that he will not do what many people do in his position, that is to burst into tears and plead with the jury to feel sorry for him on account of his young children...etc. He will not do this as he believes it would be undignified and disgraceful. This behaviour is more suitable for women, he says, and if a person is to be aquitted, it should be because he is innocent, not because the jury feels sorry for him.

(A guilty verdict is passed and Meletus proposes the death penalty. It is now up to Socrates to suggest an alternative penalty and the jury must decide between the two).

Socrates, unruffled, says that he is glad that the guilty verdict was passed by such a small majority. If 30 votes had gone the other way he would have been freed and Meletus would have been fined 1,000 drachmae. He now has to put forward his idea for a fair penalty. He lists his achievements and all he has done for Athens and comes to the conclusion that he should be given free maintenance at the state's expense for the rest of his life. He says that this is not just to annoy the jury but that he means it sincerely. After all he has done nothing wrong. He knows that the normal thing would be to suggest exile or a fine but he has no money and he knows that if he went to another city he would just end up irritating the people there

too. He knows that another alternative would be to shut up and mind his own business and stay in Athens but he cannot do that as it would be going against the wishes of the gods. He says that "The unexamined life is not worth living". Besides, he believes that he has done nothing to deserve punishment. (The jury now decide on the death penalty).

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