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Socrates' Innocence

  • Date Submitted: 07/24/2011 09:36 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 70.1 
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Summary:   Socrates was innocent of believing in other gods and corrupting the youth of Athens. While he was tried and sentenced to death, it is clear he did not preach for profit or personal gain, and fully upheld the laws of the fledgling Athenian democracy.
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"The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways - I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows" (48). At the end of the trial of Socrates, he was found guilty and sentenced to death by the Athenian jury. This trial was held after Athens had gone through hard times, first with the Dictatorship of the Four Hundred, and then with the Dictatorship of the Thirty. Following this time, there were many people who were angry with Socrates for his philosophy. The two charges that were brought against him were: believing in other gods, and corrupting the youth. However, these two charges are completely absurd. Socrates loved Athens and was trying to make it a better place. He tried to follow the laws and the gods of Athens. Socrates was innocent of any wrong doing and the jury was mistaken for sentencing him to death.
One factor that may have had an influence on the jury's decision was the threat to democracy. Democracy had just been regained in Athens after a decade of struggles. The Peloponnesian War had also just ended five years prior the trial, lasting for twenty-seven years. During that time there were two democracy overthrows. The first was in 411 B.C. when there was the Dictatorship of the Four Hundred, which lasted four months. It was followed by the Dictatorship of the Thirty in 404 B.C. This dictatorship lasted eight months. At that time, democracy had just been re-established, and Athens did not want to lose it again. Socrates was seen as a threat to this democracy. He had been at times associated with both Critias, who was one of the Thirty, and Alcibiades, who had betrayed Athens to Sparta. Some Athenians believed that both of these men's...

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