Professor Gale Justin
In this essay, I will discuss Socrates’ defense of himself in the senate against the charges laid against him by Meletus, amongst others. I will begin by discussing specifically what he persuaded Meletus to agree to in contradiction his own argument against Socrates. Following this, I will discuss the opposing viewpoints on whether Socrates’ cross-examination of Meletus fails to address the charges laid against him. Subsequently, I will discuss how Socrates’ argument against Meletus contributed to his own defense and whether or not Socrates’ method of defense was a good one or not.
Beginning his defense, Socrates first makes clear the numerous ...view middle of the document...
” (p 34)
I will now discuss whether Socrates’ cross-examination of Meletus fails to address directly the charge against him. As Socrates so himself said, the charge Meletus laid against him was that of impiety, or for not believing in the city’s gods, and also for corrupting the city’s youth. Socrates takes Meletus through a series of questions, leading up to the charge of corruption and then that of impiety. Regarding the corruption charge, Socrates asks Meletus whether he corrupts the youth willingly or unwillingly, circumventing the charge altogether by neither confirming nor denying that he corrupted the youth, but asking whether he did it willingly. Leading up to the charge of impiety, Socrates proceeds to undermine Meletus argument by saying that he believes in spirits and spiritual beings, attributing them to being gods or children of gods, but again never directly admitting to believing in gods at all, much less the city’s gods.
I will now discuss how Socrates’ specific argument against Meletus contributed to his defense. Socrates’ argument specifically addressed certain points of Meletus’ argument, making it appear as if he had addressed the issue at large, when in reality he had circumvented the original charges and addressed charges Socrates put into Meletus’ mouth. Having re-worded Meletus’ arguments into arguments that Socrates had answers for, he made it appear as if Meletus’ arguments were forfeit after making his case and having Meletus himself agree to Socrates’ own points.
Finally, I will discuss whether or not Socrates’ general way of defending himself was a good one. I believe Socrates’ method of defending himself was very clever, to put it mildly. Socrates worded his argument and questions in such a way that made it appear as if Meletus was the bad guy, admitting that he knew of how Meletus felt about his teachings and directly tried to contact him, though Meletus avoided him, and thus justified his actions in that he attempted to settle the...