apology - 16 16 Euthyphro SOCRATEs: What a thing to do, my...

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Unformatted text preview: 16 16 Euthyphro SOCRATEs: What a thing to do, my friend! By going you have cast me down from a great hope I had, that I would learn from you the nature of the pious and the impious and so escape Meletus’ indictment by showmg him that I had acquired wisdom in divine matters from Euthyphro, and my ignorance would no longer cause me to be careless and inventive about such things, and that I would be better for the rest of my life. APOLOCY This work is universally known as Plato’s ’Apology’ of Socrates, in deference o the word apologia that stands in its Greek title. Actually, the word means ot an apology but a defense speech in a legal proceeding, and that is what we —certainly, Socrates does not apologize for anything! This is not really a logue. Except for an interlude when he engages one of his accusers in the rt of question—and—answer discussion characteristic of Plato’s ’Socratic’ dia- gues, we see Socrates delivering a speech before his jury of 501 fellow male thenians. At the age of seventy he had been indicted for breaking the law gainst ’impiety’—for offending the Olympian gods (Zeus, Apollo, and the st) recognized in the city’s festivals and other official activities. The basis of thecharge, such as it was, lay in the way that, for many years, Socrates had een carrying on his philosophical work in Athens. It has often been thought at the real basis for it lay in ’guilt by association’: several of Socrates’ known sociates had been prominent malfeasants in Athens’ defeat in the Peloponne- z’an War only a few years earlier and the oligarchic reign of terror that fol- wed; but an amnesty had forbidden suits based on political offenses during hat time; However much those associations may have been in the minds of his ccusers—and his jurors, too—Plato makes him respond sincerely to the Ch rges as lodged. After all, these would be the ultimate basis on which he should or should not be found guilty of anything. So he takes the occasion to xplain and defend his devotion to philosophy, and the particular ways he has ursued that in discussions with select young men and with people prominent inthe city—discussions like those we see in Plato’s other ’Socratic’ works. He gues that, so far from offending the gods through his philosophizing, or show— _ g disbelief in them, he has piously followed their lead (particularly that of Apollo, through his oracle at Delphi) in making himself as good a person as he n and encouraging (even goading) others to do the same. The gods want, more than anything else, that we shall be good, and goodness depends princi- paly upon the quality of our understanding of what to care about and how to behave in our lives: philosophy, through Socratic discussion, is the pursuit of that understanding. This is, of course, no record of the actual defense Socrates mounted at his trial in 399 B.C., but a composition of Plato’s own—we have no way of know— ng how closely, if at all, it conforms to Socrates’ real speech. In it Plato gives us the best, most serious, response to the charges that, on his own knowledge of Socrates, Socrates was entitled to give. Was Socrates nonetheless guilty as ' charged? In deciding this, readers should notice that, however sincere Plato’s l7 17 18 Apology " 19 Socrates may be in claiming a pious motivation for his philosophical work, he does set up human reason in his own person as the final arbiter of what is right and wrong, and so of what the gods want us to do: he interprets Apollo, through his oracle at Delphi, to have told him to do that! As we see also from Euthyphro, he has no truck with the authority of myths or ancient poets or re- ligious tradition and ’dioination’ to tell us what to think about the gods and ' their commands or wishes as regards ourselves. In democratic Athens, juries were randomly selected subsets—representa- tives—of the whole people. Hence, as Socrates makes clear, he is addressing the democratic people of Athens, and when the jury find him guilty and condemn ‘ him to death, they act as and for the Athenian people. Did Socrates bring on his own condemnation, whether wittingly or not, by refusing to say the sorts of things and to comport himself in the sort of way that would have won his ac— quittal? Perhaps. True to his philosophical calling, he requires that the Atheni— ans think, honestly and dispassionately, and decide the truth of the charges by reasoning from the facts as they actually were. This was his final challenge to them to care more for their souls—their minds, their power of reason—than for their peace and comfort, undisturbed by the likes of him. Seen in that light, as, Plato wants us to see it, the failure was theirs. I M C mint; The position is this: this is my first appearance in a lawcourt, at ‘ge ofseventy; I am therefore simply a stranger to the manner of ‘ 3g, here. Just asif I were really a stranger, ‘you would certainly cuse. me if I spoke in that dialect and manner in which I had been ,_ ght up, so too my present request seems a just one, for you to pay no ntion to my manner of speech—~be it better or worse—but to concentrate attention on whether what I say is just or not, for the excellence of dge lies in this, as that of a speaker lies in telling the truth. right for me, gentlemen, to defend myself first against the first lying cuSations made against me and my first accusers, and then against the eraccusations and the later accusers. There have been many who have V sed me to you for many years now, and none of their accusations are 6; These I, fear much more than I fear Anytus and his friends, though too are formidable. These earlier ones, however, are more so, gentle- en; they/got hold of most of you from childhood, persuaded you and ed me quite falsely, saying that there is a man called Socrates, a wise ' ’a student of all things in the sky and below the earth, who makes worse argument the stronger. Those who spread that rumor, gentlemen, my dangerous accusers, for their hearers believe that those who study ‘ese things do not even believe in the gods. Moreover, these accusers are umerous, and have been at it a long time; also, they spoke to you at an :eéwhen you would most readily believe them, some of you being children ‘d-adolescents, and they won their case by default, as there was no de— me. What is most absurd in all this is that one cannot even know or mention eir names unless one of them is a writer of comedies.1 Those who mali- usly and slanderously persuaded you—~who also, when persuaded “mselves then persuaded others—all those are most difficult to deal 7th: one cannot bring one of them into court or refute him; one must imply fight with shadows, as it were, in making one’s defense, and cross— amine when no one answers. I want you to realize too that my accusers e of two kinds: those who have accused me recently, and the old ones mention; and to think that I must first defend myself against the latter, U0ryouhave also heard their accusations first, and to a much greater extent an the more recent. ‘ery well then, men of Athens. I must surely defend myself and attempt proot from your minds in so short a time the slander that has resided ere, so long. I wish this may happen, if it is in any way better for you d me, and that my defense may be successful, but I think this is very difficult and I am fully aware of how difficult it is. Even so, let the matter I do not know, men of Athens, how my accusers affected you; as for me, I was almost carried away in spite of myself, so persuasively did they speak. And yet, hardly anything of what they said is true. Of the many lies they told, one in particular surprised me, namely that you should be careful not to be deceived by an accomplished speaker like me. That they were not ashamed to be immediately proved wrong by the facts, when I show myself not to be an accomplished speaker at all, that I thought was most shameless on their part—unless indeed they call an accomplished speaker the man who speaks the truth. If they mean that, I would agree that I am an orator, but not after their manner, for indeed, as I say, practically nothing they said was true. From me you will hear the whole truth, though not, by Zeus, gentlemen, expressed in embroidered and stylized phrases like theirs, but things spoken at random and expressed in the first words that come to mind, for I put my trust in the justice of whatI say, and let none of you expect anything else. It would not be fitting at my age, as it might be for a young man, to toy with words when I appear before you. One thing I do ask and beg of you, gentlemen: if you hear me making my defense in the same kind of language as I am accustomed to use in the marketplace by the bankers’ tables, where many of you have heard me, and elsewhere, do not be surprised or create a disturbance on that I ‘et us then take up the case from its beginning. What is the accusation from which arose the slander in which Meletus trusted when he wrote This is Aristophanes. Socrates refers below (19c) to the character Socrates in his Translated by GM-A- Grube- ouds (225 ff.), first produced in 423 3c. 18 19 i‘ 7 i i 2O 21 caused this reputation and slander. Listen then. Perhaps some of you think I am jesting, but be sure that all that I shall say is true. What caused my reputation is none other than a certain kind of wisdom. atkind of wisdom? Human wisdom, perhaps. It may be that I really Ssess this, while those whom I mentioned just now are wise with a dom more than human; else I cannot explain it, for I certainly do not Ssess it, and whoever says I do is lying and speaks to slander me. Do Create a disturbance, gentlemen, even if you think I am boasting, for m tory I shall tell does not originate with me, but I will refer you to a tworthy source. I shall call upon the god at Delphi as witness to the tence and nature of my wisdom, if it be such. You know Chaerephon. as my friend from youth, and the friend of most of you, as he shared ur exile and your return. You surely know the kind of man he was, W impulsive in any course of action. He went to Delphi at one time d: ventured to ask the oracle—as I say, gentlemen, do not create a turbance—he asked if any man was wiser than I, and the Pythian replied at no one was wiser. Chaerephon is dead, but his brother will testify to u. about this. " onsider that I tell you this because I would inform you about the origin he slander. When I heard of this reply I asked myself: "Whatever does «6 god mean? What is his riddle? I am very conscious that I am not wise 1: all; what then does he mean by saying that I am the wisest? For surely e does not lie; it is not legitimate for him to do so.” For a long time I as at a loss as to his meaning; then I very reluctantly turned to some rich investigation as this; I went to one of those reputed wise, thinking at there, if anywhere, I could refute the oracle and say to it: "This man Wiser than I, but you said I was.” Then, when I examined this man—— ere is no need for me to tell you his name, he was one of our public en—my experience was something like this: I thought that he appeared 'se to many people and especially to himself, but he was not. I then tried show him that he thought himself wise, but that he was not. As a result 6 came to dislike me, and so did many of the bystanders. So I withdrew d thought to myself: "I am wiser than this man; it is likely that neither of us knows anything worthwhile, but he thinks he knows something 'When he does not, whereas when I do not know, neither do I thinkI know; so I am likely to be wiser than he to this small extent, that I do not think know what I do not know.” After this I approached another man, one of those thought to be wiser than he, and I thought the same thing, and so I came to be disliked both by him and by many others. , After that I proceeded systematically. I realized, to my sorrow and alarm, that I was getting unpopular, but I thought that I must attach the greatest importance to the god’s oracle, so I must go to all those who had any reputation for knowledge to examine its meaning. And by the dog, men of Athens—for I must tell you the truth—«I experienced something like this: in my investigation in the service of the god I found that those who had the highest reputation were nearly the most deficient, while those things—lest Meletus brin ‘ . ~ . g more cases agamst me~but entlemen I h p0 partiitnop tip: 1pornt 1 call upon the majority oféyou as Witness: think a a ose 0 you who have heard me convers‘ many of you have, should tell each other if anyone of you has Willi: any extent at all. From this you will learn does, and Prodicus of Ceos and Hi ‘ ‘ ~ , ppias of Elis.2 Each of th ~ go to any City and persuade the young, who can keep corisgalfrl5nwciathl gggrcéne of theirf (Syn fellow citizens they want without paying to leave ompany 0 ese, to join with themselves a th I grateful to them besides Indeed Ilearned th I p y' em a fee, and be _ . , at there is anothe ‘ from Paros who is v1s1t1ng us, for I met a man who has sggienfiar: money on Sophists than everybody else ' . _ . put to ether, Calli , t Hippomcus. So I asked lum—he has two sons—g’Callias,” 1::idhe ‘son Of H I, . ou have sons. Is there such a person, I asked, or is there not?” "Certame there is ” he I I asked "What is his name wher ' ‘ ~ . "fl. , , e1shefro? zvlziathlis his fee? name, Socrates, is Evenus, he comes frommPaffltr):j n s eeis five mmas.” I thought Evenus a happy man, if he really ang preefn myself if I had this knowledge, but I do not have it, gentlemen ne 0 you might perhaps interrupt me and say: "But Socrates what is your occupation? From where have these slanders come? For surely if you people. Tell us what it is that we ma ‘ ‘ , y not speak madv1sedl b ” Anyone who says that seems to be right, and I will try to shin: $31: fihlat 21 22 25 26 24 Apology . How do you mean, Meletus? Are these able to educate the young and improve them?——Certainly. All of them, or some but not others?——All of them. Very good, by Hera. You mention a great abundance of benefactors. But what about the audience? Do they improve the young or not?——The do, too. . y What about the members of Council?——The Councillors, also. But, Meletus, what about the assembly? Do members of the assembly corrupt the young, or do they all improve them?——They improve them. All the Athenians, it seems, make the young into fine good men except me, and I alone corrupt them. Is that what you mean?——That is most definitely what I mean. You condemn me to a great misfortune. Tell me: does this also apply to horses do you think? That all men improve them and one individual corrupts them? Or is quite the contrary true, one individual is able to improve them, or very few, namely, the horse breeders, whereas the major- 1ty, if they have horses and use them, corrupt them? Is that not the case Meletus, both with horses and all other animals? Of course it is, whethef you and Anytus say so or not. It would be a very happy state of affairs if only one person corrupted our youth, while the others improved them. You have made it sufficiently obvious, Meletus, that you have never had any concern for our youth; you show your indifference clearly' that you have given no thought to the subjects about which you bring me toltrial. . And by Zeus, Meletus, tell us also whether it is better for a man to live among good or Wicked fellow citizens. Answer, my good man, for Is there any man who wants to be harmed?~Of course not. Come now, do you accuse me here of corrupting the young and making them worse deliberately or unwillingly?——Deliberately. What follows, Meletus? Are you so much wiser at your age than I am at mine that you understand that wicked people always do some harm to their closest neighbors while good people do them good, but I have reached such a pitch of ignorance that I do not realize this, namely that if I make one of my associates wicked I run the risk of being harmed by him so that I do such a great evil deliberately, as you say? I do not believe you, Meletus and I do not think anyone else will. Either I do not corrupt the young or, if I do, it is unwillingly, and you are lying in either case. Now ifI corrupf them unwillingly, the law does not require you to bring people to court for such unwilling wrongdoings, but to get hold of them privately to Instruct them and exhort them; for clearly, if I learn better, I shall cease to do what I am doing unwillingly. You, however, have avoided my company and were unw11hng to instruct me, but you bring me here, where Apology 25 the law requires one to bring those who are in need of punishment, not of instruction. And so, men of Athens, what I said is clearly true: Meletus has never been at all concerned with these matters. Nonetheless tell us, Meletus, how you say that I corrupt the young; or is it obvious from your deposition that it is by teaching them not to believe in the gods in whom the city believes but in other new spiritual things? Is this not what you say I teach ’ and so corrupt them?——That is most certainly what I do say. , Then by those very gods about whom we are talking, Meletus, make this clearer to me and to these men: I cannot be sure whether you mean that I teach the belief that there are some gods—and therefore I myself believe that there are gods and am not altogether an atheist, nor am I guilty of that—not, however, the gods in whom the city believes, but others, and that this is the charge against me, that they are others. Or whether you mean that I do not believe in gods at all, and that this is whatI teach to others—This is whatI mean, that you do not believe in gods at all. You are a strange fellow, Meletus. Why do you say this? Do I not believe, as other men do, that the sun and the moon are gods?——No, by Zeus, gentlemen of the jury, for he says that the sun is stone, and the moon earth. My dear Meletus, do you think you are prosecuting Anaxagoras? Are you so contemptuous of these men and think them so ignorant of letters as not to know that the books of Anaxagoras of Clazomenae are full of those theories, and further, that the young men learn from me what they can buy from time to time for a drachma, at most, in the bookshops, and ridicule Socrates if he pretends that these theories are his own, especially as they are so absurd? Is that, by Zeus, what you think of me, Meletus, that I do not believe that there are any gods?——That is what I say, that you do not believe in the gods at all. You cannot be believed, Meletus, even, I think, by yourself. The man appears to me, men of Athens, highly insolent and uncontrolled. He seems to have made this deposition out of insolence, Violence and youthful zeal. He is like one who composed a riddle and is trying it out: "Will the wise Socrates realize that I am jesting and contradicting myself, or shall I deceive him and others?” I think he contradicts himself in the affidavit, as if he said: "Socrates is guilty of not believing in gods but believing in gods,” and surely that is the part of a jester! Examine with me, gentlemen, how he appears to contradict himself, and you, Meletus, answer us. Remember, gentlemen, what I asked you when I began, not to create a disturbance if I proceed in my usual manner. Does any man, Meletus, believe in human activities who does not believe in humans? Make him answer, and not again and again create a distur- bance. Does any man who does not believe in horses believe in horsemen’s activities? Or in flute-playing activities but not in flute-players? No, my good sir, no man could. If you are not willing to answer, I will tell you and these men. Answer the next question, however. Does any man believe in spiritual activities who does not believe in spirits?——No one. 27 d assume that you agree, ' . 0 we not believe s ' ' ' ren 'of gods? Yes or no.7—Of course. pmts to be I was much more afraid . ’Let me die at once,” he his deserts, rather than 3. See Iliad xviii.94 ff. Apology 27 main here, a laughingstock by the curved ships, a burden upon the earth." Do you think he gave thought to death and danger? This is the truth of the matter, men of Athens: wherever a man has taken osition that he believes to be best, or has been placed by his commander, ere he must I think remain and face danger, Without a thought for death anything else, rather than disgrace. It would have been a dreadful way behave, men of Athens, if, at Potidaea, Amphipolis and Delium, I had, the risk of death, like anyone else, remained at my post where those you had elected to command had ordered me, and then, when the god ordered me, as I thought and believed, to live the life of a philosopher, to examine myself and others, I had abandoned my post for fear of death or anything else: That would have been a dreadful thing, and then I might truly have justly been brought here for not believing that there are gods, disobeying the oracle, fearing death, and thinking I was wise when I was 0t. To fear death, gentlemen, is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows what one does not know. No one knows Whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a man, yet men fear it as if they knew that it is the greatest of evils. And surely it is the rest blameworthy ignorance to believe that one knows what one does not know. It is perhaps on this point and in this respect, gentlemen, that “differ from the majority of men, and if I were to claim that I am wiser han anyone in anything, it would be in this, that, as I have no adequate knowledge of things in the underworld, so I do not think I have. I do know, however, that it is wicked and shameful to do wrong, to disobey One’s superior, be he god or man_ I shall never fear or avoid things of which I do not know, whether they may not be good rather than things that I know to be bad. Even if you acquitted me now and did not believe Anytus, who said to you that either I should not have been brought here In the first place, or that now I am here, you cannot avoid executing me, orif I should be acquitted, your sons would practice the teachings of , Socrates and all be thoroughly corrupted; if you said to me in this regard: "Socrates, we do not believe Anytus now; we acquit you, but only on condition that you spend no more time on this investigation and do not practice philosophy, and if you are caught doing so you will die;” if, as I say, you were to acquit me on those terms, I would say to you: "Men of Athens, I am grateful and I am your friend, but I will obey the god rather than you, and as long as I draw breath and am able, I shall not cease to practice philosophy, to exhort you and in my usual way to point out to any one of you whom I happen to meet: Good Sir, you are an Athenian, a citizen of the greatest city with the greatest reputation for both wisdom , and power; are you not ashamed of your eagerness to possess as much " wealth, reputation and honors as possible, while you do not care for nor give thought to wisdom or truth, or the best possible state of your soul?” Then, if one of you disputes this and says he does care, I shall not let him go at once or leave him, but I shall question him, examine him and test him, and if I do not think he has attained the goodness that he says he 29 28 Apology ’ 29 has, I shall reproach him because he attaches little importance to the most likephuman nature for me to have neglected all my own affairs and to , important things and greater importance to inferior things. I shall treat in ave tolerated this neglect now for so many years while I was always a this way anyone I happen to meet, young and old, citizen and stranger, , cerned With you, approaching each one of you like a father or an elder I and more so the citizens because you are more kindred to me. Be sure that this is what the god orders me to do, and I think there is no greater blessing for the city than my service to the god. For I go around doing nothing but persuading both young and old among you not to care for your body or your wealth in preference to or as strongly as for the best possible state of your soul, as I say to you: “Wealth does not bring about excellence, but excellence makes wealth and everything else good for men, both individually and collectively.”4 , Now if by saying this I corrupt the young, this advice must be harmful, but if anyone says that I give different advice,he is talking nonsense. On this point I would say to you, men of Athens: "Whether you believe Anytus or not, whether you acquit me or not, do so on the understanding that this is my course of action, even if I am to face death many times.” Do not create a disturbance, gentlemen, but abide by my request not to cry out at what I say but to listen, for I think it will be to your advantage to listen, and I am about to say other things at which you will perhaps cry out. By no means do this. Be sure that if you kill the sort of man I say I am, you will not harm me more than yourselves. Neither Meletus nor Anytus can harm me in any way; he could not harm me, for I do not think it is permitted that a better man be harmed by a worse; certainly he might kill me, or perhaps banish or disfranchise me, which he and maybe others think to be great harm, but I do not think so. I think he is doing himself much greater harm doing what he is doing now, attempting to have a man executed unjustly. Indeed, men of Athens, 1 am far from making a defense now on my own behalf, as might be thought, but on yours, to prevent you from wrongdoing by mistreating the god’s to you by condemning me; for if you kill me you will not easily find another like me. I was attached to this city by the god—though it seems a ridiculous thing to say———as upon a great and noble horse which was somewhat sluggish because of its size and needed to be stirred up by a kind of gadfly. It is to fulfill some such function that I believe the god has placed me in the city. I never cease to rouse each and every one of you, to persuade and reproach you all daylong and everywhere I find myself in your company. Another such man will not easily come to be among you, gentlemen, and if you believe me you will spare me. You might easily be annoyed with me as people are when they are aroused from a doze, and strike out at me; if convinced by Anytus you could easily kill me, and then you could sleep on for the rest of your days, unless the god, in his care for you, sent you someone else. That I am the kind of person to be a gift of the god to the city you might realize from the fact that it does not seem charging a fee for my advice, there would be some sense to it, but you _, , an see for yourselves that, for all their shameless accusations, my accusers have not been able in their impudence to bring forward a witness to say c that I have ever received a fee or ever asked for one. I, on the other hand, have a convincing witness that I speak the truth, my poverty. ’_ tmay seem strange that while I go around and give this advice privately andinterfere in private affairs, I do not venture to go to the assembly and there advise the city. You have heard me give the reason for this in many places. I have a divine or spiritual sign which Meletus has ridiculed in his d deposition. This began when I was a child. It is a voice, and whenever it Speaks it turns me away from something I am about to do, but it never encourages me to do anything. This is what has prevented me from taking part in public affairs, and I think it was quite right to prevent me. Be sure, men of Athens, that if I had long ago attempted to take part in politics, I should have died long ago, and benefited neither you nor myself. Do not e be angry with me for speaking the truth; no man will survive who genuinely Opposes you or any other crowd and prevents the occurrence of many just and illegal happenings in the city. A man who really fights for 32 stice must lead a private, not a public, life if he is to survive for even a "I shall give you great proofs of this, not words but what you esteem, deeds. Listen to what happened to me, that you may know that I will not yield to any man contrary to what is right, for fear of death, even ifI should die at once for not yielding. The things I shall tell you are commonplace and smack of the lawcourts, but they are true. I have never held any other b office in the city, but I served as a member of the Council, and our tribe "l Antiochis was presiding at the time when you wanted to try as a body the ten generals who had failed to pick up the survivors of the naval i battle.5 This was illegal, as you all recognized later. I was the only member of the presiding committee to oppose your doing something contrary to the laws, and I voted against it. The orators were ready to prosecute me and take me away, and your shouts were egging them on, but I thought Ishould run any risk on the side of law and justice rather than join you, c for fear of prison or death, when you were engaged in an unjust course. I This happened when the city was still a democracy. When the oligarchy was established, the Thirty6 summoned me to the Hall, along with four others, and ordered us to bring Leon from Salamis, that he might be '5. This was the battle of Arginusae (south of Lesbos) in 406 B.C., the last Athenian Victory of the Peloponnesian war. A violent storm prevented the Athenian generals from rescuing their survivors. * 6. This was the harsh oligarchy that was set up after the final defeat of Athens in 404 BC. and ruled Athens for some nine months in 404—3 before the democracy was restored. 4. Alternatively, this sentence could be translated: "Wealth does not bring about excel- lence, but excellence brings about wealth and all other public and private blessings for men.” 33 34 30 Apology ‘ r 31 ’ could mention many others, some one of whom surely Meletus should ve brought in as Witness in his own speech. If he forgot to do so, then ethim do it now; I will yield time if he has anything of the kind to say. u Will find quite the contrary, gentlemen. These men are all ready to ome to the help of the corruptor, the man who has harmed their kindred, executed. They gave many such orders to many people, in order to impli cate as many as possible in their guilt. Then I showed again, not in words but in action, that, if it were not rather vulgar to say so, death is something I couldn’t care less about, but that my whole concern is not to do anything unjust or impious. That government, powerful as it was, did not frighten me into any wrongdoing. When we left the Hall, the other four went to Salamis and brought in Leon, but I went home. I might have been put to death for this, had not the government fallen shortly afterwards. There are many who will witness to these events. ' Do you think I would have survived all these years if I were engaged in public affairs and, acting as a good man must, came to the help of justice and considered this the most important thing? Far from it, men of Athens, nor would any other man. Throughout my life, in any public activity I may have engaged in, I am the same man as I am in private life. I have never come to an agreement with anyone to act unjustly, neither with anyone else nor with any one of those who they slanderously say are my pupils. I have never been anyone’s teacher. If anyone, young or old, desires to listen to me when I am talking and dealing with my own concerns, I have never begrudged this to anyone, but I do not converse when I receive a fee and not when I do not. I am equally ready to question the rich and the poor if anyone is willing to answer my questions and listen to what I say. And I cannot justly be held responsible for the good or bad conduct of these people, as I never promised to teach them anything and have not done so. If anyone says that he has learned anything from me, or that he heard anything privately that the others did not hear, be assured that h is not telling the truth. ‘ Why then do some people enjoy spending considerable time in my company? You have heard why, men of Athens; I have told you the whole truth. They enjoy hearing those being questioned who think they are wise, but are not. And this is not unpleasant. To do this has, as I say, been enjoined upon me by the god, by means of oracles and dreams, and in every other way that a divine manifestation has ever ordered a man to do anything. This is true, gentlemen, and can easily be established. If I corrupt some young men and have corrupted others, then surely some of them who have grown older and realized that I gave them bad advice when they were young should now themselves come up here to accuse me and avenge themselves. If they were unwilling to do so them- selves, then some of their kindred, their fathers or brothers or other relations should recall it now if their family had been harmed by me. I see many of these present here, first Crito, my contemporary and fellow demesman, the father of Critobulus here; next Lysanias of Sphettus, the father of Aeschines here; also Antiphon the Cephisian, the father of Epigenes; and others whose brothers spent their time in this way; Nicostratus, the son of Theozotides, brother of Theodotus, and Theodotus has died so he could not influence him; Paralius here, son of Demodocus, whose brother was Theages; there is Adeimantus, son of Ariston, brother of Plato here; Aeanto- dorus, brother of Apollodorus here. ve reason to help me, but the uncorrupted, their kindred who are older ten, have no reason to help me except the right and proper one, that they know that Meletus is lying and that I am telling the truth. ‘ Very well, gentlemen. This, and maybe other similar things, is what I ave to say in my defense. Perhaps one of you might be angry as he recalls at when he himself stood trial on a less dangerous charge, he begged d implored the jurymen with many tears, that he brought his children rd many of his friends and family into court to arouse as much pity as e could, but that I do none of these things, even though I may seem to e running the ultimate risk. Thinking of this, he might feel resentful Ward me and, angry about this, cast his vote in anger. If there is such one among you——I do not deem there is, but if there is——I think it would e right to say in reply: My good sir, I too have a household and, in omer’s phrase, I am not born “from oak or rock” but from men, so that have a family, indeed three sons, men of Athens, of whom one is an dolescent while two are children. Nevertheless, I will not beg you to cquit me by bringing them here. Why do I do none of these things? Not hrough arrogance, gentlemen, nor through lack of respect for you. Whether am brave in the face of death is another matter, but with regard to my putation and yours and that of the whole city, it does not seem right to e to do these things, especially at my age and with my reputation. For is generally believed, whether it be true or false, that in certain respects ,S‘Ocrates is superior to the majority of men. Now if those of you who are ‘nsidered superior, be it in wisdom or courage or whatever other Virtue 'akes them so, are seen behaving like that, it would be a disgrace. Yet I e often seen them do this sort of thing when standing trial, men who 2e thought to be somebody, doing amazing things as if they thought it terrible thing to die, and as if they were to be immortal if you did not cute them. I think these men bring shame upon the city so that a tranger, too, would assume that those who are outstanding in virtue ong the Athenians, whom they themselves select from themselves to offices of state and receive other honors, are in no way better than omen. You should not act like that, men of Athens, those of you who ve‘any reputation at all, and if we do, you should not allow it. You 'ould make it very clear that you will more readily convict a man who erforms these pitiful dramatics in court and so makes the city a laughing- ock, than a man who keeps quiet. Quite apart from the question of reputation, gentlemen, I do not think it right to supplicate the jury and to be acquitted because of this, but to L ach and persuade them. It is not the purpose of a juryman’s office to give justice as a favor to whoever seems good to him, but to judge according 35 32 Apology, logy 33 to law, and this he has sworn to do. We should not accustom you to perjure yourselves, nor should you make a habit of it. This is irreverent conduct for either of us. ' d Do not deem it right for me, men of Athens, that I should act towards you in a way that I do not consider to be good or just or pious, especially, by Zeus, as I am being prosecuted by Meletus here for impiety; clearly, if I convinced you by my supplication to do violence to your oath of office, I would be teaching you not to believe that there are gods, and my defense would convict me of not believing in them. This is far from being the case, gentlemen, for I do believe in them as none of my accusers do. I leave it to you and the god to judge me in the way that will be best for me and for you. . jctor makes you think yourself happy; I make you be happy. Besides, he e _s not need food, but I do. So if I must make a just assessment of what deserve, I assess it as this: free meals in the Prytaneum. 37 When I say this you may think, as when I spoke of appeals to pity and treaties, that I speak arrogantly, but that is not the case, men of Athens; ‘ther it is like this: I am convinced that I never willingly wrong anyone, ut I am not convincing you of this, for we have talked together but a ort time. If it were the law with us, as it is elsewhere, that a trial for life b ould not last one but many days, you would be convinced, but now it not easy to dispel great slanders in a short time. Since I am convinced I at I‘wrong no one, I am not likely to wrong myself, to say that I deserve me evil and to make some such assessment against myself. What should fear? That I should suffer the penalty Meletus has assessed against me, [The jury now gives its verdict of guilty, and Meletus asks for the of which I say I do not know whether it is good or bad? Am I then to penalty of death] choose in preference to this something that I know very well to be an evil and assess the penalty at that? Imprisonment? Why should I live in prison, c 9 There are many Other reasons for my nOt being angry With you for always subjected to the ruling magistrates, the Eleven? A fine, and impris- 36 convicting me, men of Athens, and what happened was not unexpected. I am much more surprised at the number of votes cast on each side for I did not think the decision would be by so few votes but by a great many. As it is, a switch of only thirty votes would have acquitted me. I think b myself that I have been cleared on Meletus’ charges, and not only this, but it is clear to all that, if Anytus and Lycon had not joined him in accusing me, he would have been fined a thousand drachmas for not receiving a fifth of the votes. He assesses the penalty at death. 80 be it. What counter~assessment should I propose to you, men of Athens? Clearly it should be a penalty I deserve, and what do I deserve to suffer or to pay because I have deliber- ately not led a quiet life but have neglected what occupies most people wealth, household affairs, the position of general or public orator or the other offices, the political clubs and factions that exist in the city? I thought c myself too honest to survive if I occupied myself with those things. I did not follow that path that would have made me of no use either to you or to myself, but I went to each of you privately and conferred upon him what I say is the greatest benefit, by trying to persuade him not to care for any of his belongings before caring that he himself should be as good and as wise as possible, not to care for the city’ s possessions more than d for the city itself, and to care for other things in the same way. What do I deserve for being such a man? Some good, men of Athens, if I must truly make an assessment according to my deserts, and something suitable- What is suitable for a poor benefactor who needs leisure to exhort you? Nothing is more suitable, gentlemen, than for such a man to be fed in the Prytaneum,7 much more suitable for him than for any one of you who has won a victory at Olympia with a pair or a team of horses. The Olympian onment until I pay it? That would be the same thing for me, as I have no money. Exile? for perhaps you might accept that assessment. I should have to be inordinately fond of life, men of Athens, to be so unreasonable as to suppose that other men will easily tolerate my company and conversation when you, my fellow citizens, have been unable to endure d them, but found them a burden and resented them so that you are now seeking to get rid of them. Far from it, gentlemen. It would be a fine life at my age to be driven out of one City after another, for I know very well that wherever I go the young men will listen to my talk as they do here. e If I drive them away, they will themselves persuade their elders to drive me out; if I do not drive them away, their fathers and relations will drive me out on their behalf. ; Perhaps someone might say: But Socrates, if you leave us will you not L be able to live quietly, without talking? Now this is the most difficult point ' on which to convince some of you. If I say that it is impossible for me to 38 keep quiet because that means disobeying the god, you will not believe me and will think I am being ironical. On the other hand, if I say that it is the greatest good for a man to discuss virtue every day and those other things about which you hear me conversing and testing myself and others, for the unexamined life is not worth living for men, you willbelieve me even less. What I say is true, gentlemen, but it is not easy to convince you. At the b same time, I am not accustomed to think that I deserve any penalty. If I had money, I would assess the penalty at the amount I could pay, for that would not hurt me, but I have none, unless you are willing to set the penalty at the amount I can pay, and perhaps I could pay you one mina of silver.8 So that is my assessment. 7. The Prytaneum was the magistrates’ hall or town hall of Athens in which public . 8. One mina was the equivalent of 100 drachmas. In the late fifth century one drachma entertainments were given, particularly to Olympian victors on their return home. was the standard daily wage of a laborer. A mina, then, was a considerable sum. 39 83’ 35 you for not living in the right way. To escape such tests is neither ible nor good, but it is best and easiest not to discredit others but to epare oneself to be as good as possible. With this prophecy to you who victed me, I part from you. hould be glad to discuss what has happened with those who voted _ my acquittal during the time that the officers of the court are busy and not yet have to depart to my death. So, gentlemen, stay with me bike, for nothing prevents us from talking to each other while it is owed. To you, as being my friends, I want to show the meaning of what " occurred. A surprising thing has happened to me, jurymen—you I ould rightly call jurymen. At all previous times my familiar prophetic Wer, my spiritual manifestation, frequently opposed me, even in small ers, when I was about to do something wrong, but now that, as you 'Tfsee for yourselves, I was faced with what one might think, and what generally thought to be, the worst of evils, my divine sign has not p‘oSed,me, either when I left home at dawn, or when I came into court, , t any time that I was about to say something during my speech. Yet other talks it often held me back in the middle of my speaking, but W it has opposed no word or deed of mine. What do I think is the neason for this? I will tell you. What has happened to me may well be a 0d thing, and those of us who believe death to be an evil are certainly mistaken. I have convincing proof of this, for it is impossible that my amiliar sign did not oppose me if I was not about to do what was right. Let us reflect in this way, too, that there is good hope that death is a essing, for it is one of two things: either the dead are nothing and have perception of anything, or it is, as we are told, a change and a relocating Or the soul from here to another place. If it is complete lack of perception, ea dreamless sleep, then death would be a great advantage. For I think that if one had to pick out that night during which a man slept soundly d did not dream, put beside it the other nights and days of his life, and then see how many days and nights had been better and more pleasant than that night, not only a private person but the great king would find them easy to count compared with the other days and nights. If death is like this I say it is an advantage, for all eternity would then seem to be no more than a single night. If, on the other hand, death is a change from here to another place, and what we are told is true and all who have died are there, what greater blessing could there be, gentlemen of the jury? If anyone arriving in Hades will have escaped from those who call themselves ’urymen here, and will find those true jurymen who are said to sit in ‘udgment there, Minos and Rhadamanthus and Aeacus and Triptolemus and the other demi-gods who have been upright in their own life, would that be a poor kind of change? Again, what would one of you give to keep company with Orpheus and Musaeus, Hesiod and Homer? I am willing to die many times if that is true. It would be a wonderful way for me to spend my time whenever I met Palamedes and Ajax, the son of Telamon, and any other of the men of old who died through an unjust conviction, 34 Apology Plato here, men of Athens, and Crito and Critobulus and Apollodorus ,, bid me put the penalty at thirty minas, and they will stand surety fo the money. Well then, that is my assessment, and they will be sufficient, guarantee of payment. [The jury now votes again and sentences Socrates to death] It is for the sake of a short time, men of Athens, that you will acquire . the reputation and the guilt, in the eyes of those who want to denigrate 5 the city, of having killed Socrates, a wise man, for they who want to revile r, you will say that I am wise even if I am not. If you had waited but a little ‘ while, this would have happened of its own accord. You see my age, that I am already advanced in years and close to death. I am saying this not to all of you but to those who condemned me to death, and to these same ones I say: Perhaps you think that I was convicted for lack of such words as might have convinced you, if I thought I should say or do all I could to avoid my sentence. Far from it. I was convicted because I lacked not words but boldness and shamelessness and the willingness to say to you what you would most gladly have heard from me, lamentations and tears and my saying and doing many things that I say are unworthy of me but that you are accustomed to hear from others. I did not think then that the danger I ran should make me do anything mean, nor do I now regret the nature of my defense. I would much rather die after this kind of defense than live after making the other kind. Neither I nor any other man should, on trial or in war, contrive to avoid death at any cost. Indeed it is often obvious in battle that one could escape death by throwing away one’s weapons-and by turning to supplicate one’s pursuers, and there are many ways to avoid death in every kind of danger if one will venture to door ' say anything to avoid it. It is not difficult to avoid death, gentlemen; it is much more difficult to avoid wickedness, for it runs faster than death. Slow and elderly as I am, I have been caught by the slower pursuer, whereas my accusers, being clever and sharp, have been caught by the quicker, wickedness. I leave you now, condemned to death by you, but they are condemned by truth to wickedness and injustice. So I maintain my assessment, and they maintain theirs. This perhaps had to happen, and I think it is as it should be. Now I want to prophesy to those who convicted me, for I am at the point when men prophesy most, when they are about to die. I say gentlemen, to those who voted to kill me, that vengeance will come upon you immedi~ ately after my death, a vengeance much harder to bear than that which you took in killing me. You did this in the belief that you would avoid giving an account of your life, but I maintain that quite the opposite will happen to you. There will be more people to test you, whom I now held back, but you did not notice it. They will be more difficult to deal with as they will be younger and you will resent them more. You are wrong if you believe that by killing people you will prevent anyone from reproach- 40 41 42 3 6 Apology to compare my experience with theirs. I think it would be pleasant. Most important, I could spend my time testing and examining people there as 1 do here, as to who among them is wise, and who thinks he is, but is not. What would one not give, gentlemen of the jury, for the opportunity to exarrune the man who led the great expedition against Troy, or Odysseus or Sisyphus, and innumerable other men and women one could mention; It would be an extraordinary happiness to talk with them, to keep company With them and examine them. In any case, they would certainly not put one to death for doing so. They are happier there than we are here in other respects, and for the rest of time they are deathless if indeed what we are told is true. ’ You too must be of good hope as regards death, gentlemen of the jury and keeptlus one truth in mind, that a good man cannot be harmed either in life or in death, and that his affairs are not neglected by the gods. What has happened to me now has not happened of itself, but it is clear to me that it was. better for me to die now and to escape from trouble. That is why my divine sign did not oppose me at any point. So I am certainly not angry with those who convicted me, or with my accusers. Of course that was not their purpose when they accused and convicted me but they thought they were hurting me, and for this they deserve blame. This much I ask from them: when my sons grow up, avenge yourselves by causing them the same kind of grief that I caused you, if you think they care for money or anything else more than they care for virtue, or if they think they are somebody when they are nobody. Reproach them as I reproach you, that they do not care for the right things and think they are worthy when they are not worthy of anything. If you do this, I shall have been justly treated by you, and my sons also. Now the hour to part has come. I go to die, you go to live. Which of us goes to the better lot is known to no one, except the god. C RITO As, the beginning of the Phaedo relates, Socrates did not die until a month after his trial, which followed by a day the sailing of the Athenian state galley on an annual religious mission to the island of Delos; no executions were per— mitted during its absence. Crito comes to tell Socrates of its anticipated arrival later that day and to make one last effort to persuade him to allow his friends to save him by bribing his jailers and bundling him ofi‘ somewhere beyond the ‘ reach of Athenian law. Crito indicates that most people expect his friends to do ‘ this—unless (dishonorably) they value their money more than their friend. Soc- * rates, however, refuses. Even if people do expect it, to do that would be grossly unjust. Both Crito’s arguments in favor of his plan and Socrates’ in rejecting it are ’ rather jumbled—as perhaps befits the pressure and excitement of the moment. ' Crito cites the damage to his and Socrates’ other friends’ reputations and deli— cately minimizes any financial loss he might suffer, in case Socrates might be unwilling to accept any great sacrifice from a friend. Socrates witheringly dis- misses the first consideration and ignores the second. But Crito also claims that it would actually be unjust of Socrates to stay. That would allow his ene— mics to triumph over him and his friends, including his young sons, whom he will abandon by going docilely to his death: a person ought not to take lying down an attack on the things he holds most dear, including philosophy itself and the philosophical life to which he and (presumably) his friends are devoted. Here we hear strains of the time-honored Greek idea that justice is helping one’s friends and harming one’s enemies, cited by Polemarchus in Republic 1. (But Crito does not propose harming their enemies—only preventing them from having their way.) As to his children, Socrates responds that they will be as well or better cared for after his death than if he resisted it and went into ex— ile. But ironically, considering his own subsequent arguments for accepting his death, he seems not to hear the larger claim of injustice that Crito lodges. Crito’s jumbled presentation of his case facilitates this. ' Unmoved by the claims of justice grounded in his private relationships to friends and family, Socrates appeals to the standards of civic justice imbedded in his relations as a citizen to the Athenian people and to the Athenian system of law. He claims that a citizen is necessarily, given the benefits he has enjoyed under the laws of the city, their slave, justly required to do whatever they ask, and more forbidden to attack them than to violate his own parents. That would be retaliation—rendering a wrong for the wrong received in his unjust condem- nation—and retaliation is never just. But what if he chose to depart not in an 37 ...
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apology - 16 16 Euthyphro SOCRATEs: What a thing to do, my...

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