“Not much time will be gained, O Athenians,
in return for the evil name which you will get
from the detractors of the city, who will say
that you killed Socrates, a wise man….”
----- Socrates, Apology
Digression: Socrates’ Mission to Athens
The accusers of Socrates could not testify that he took pay or asked for money. The poverty he has was a witness to the truth of what he said. To defend the simple truth, one needs to oppose to the unjust and illegal things occurring in the city. He who intends to fight for what is right must live privately rather than publicly. This is to avoid accusations among the members of the community living in a public society. Deeds speak louder than words. The fear of death will not be the source of giving way to any man contrary to what is right, even if Socrates will be destroyed for it. To do something in order to stop the wrong accusations, it must be shown, not by words but by deeds. Socrates acted in public life following the manner of good man worthy man to be respected. He has shown his whole self in the public through discussion. He never asked for payment, he entertained everybody whether rich or poor, he even offered himself as questionnaire. Socrates firmly assured that those who listen to him tell the truth for it is he who does it first. Those who helped Socrates have been corrupted. The reason of support was that they know Meletus was lying and not telling the truth.
Socrates does not want to be like those accused men who do nothing but beg and plead for their lives. The judge must not grant justice as a favor but to render judgment according to the law. Socrates committed the care to God and to the accusers to judge him in whatever way will be best for him and also for others.
“Gentlemen of Athens, it does not seem to me just to beg a judge, or to be acquitted by begging; it is rather just to teach and to persuade. The judge does not sit to grant justice as a favor, but to render judgment.”
The Counter penalty
To give up means giving part of my soul.
Socrates proposed an alternative means in order to redeem himself from the accusation. He was not like other Athenians who offered something in order to be acquitted in their case. In the last part of his appeal, he asked if a mina of silver can be used as counter penalty since he could not give the exact amount that the judges required him to pay.
The juries were to open to all available men who will convict the accused, and surely Meletus and his friends’ cohorts in order to see clearly the conviction they long for. Socrates was astonished by the vote of 280-220 for conviction. So far, this was the huge vote anyone would have expected. In order for Socrates to be forgiven he must go out of his way stick it to Meletus, Anytus and Lycon. If he does it, surely the forgiveness he longed for will be granted. In this phase, the convicted is given the opportunity to argue his own side. Knowing himself to be innocent of the charges, he insolently suggests strong sentences to demonstrate the truth and his contempt at the entire proceeding. His words create irreverence to the jurors own understanding and somehow leads Socrates to feel how angry he could make them.
Exile is another option Socrates brings up he patiently explains to the jurors that he is cast out, he will keep on asking questions and he will not going to keep quiet, for keeping quite means he admitted it freely. The core of everything Socrates would like to express runs in the statement, an unexamined life is not worth living. To examine him is his passion and obsession. This, perhaps, more than any divine influence, is the main motivation for his questioning.
Socrates did not regret for having conducted by the defense. He would rather die with the defense than to live with other people. Neither in court of law or any man continue to escape death by any means possible. Often in a battle it becomes clear that man escape death by surrendering, but for Socrates it was difficult to escape wickedness, for wickedness runs faster than death. Socrates advised them not to lament, for he does not fear the prospect of death. It is either going to be an endless sleep of journey to another place.
“Very likely what has fallen to me is good, and those among us who think that death is an evil are wrong. There had been convincing indication of this. For the accustomed sign would surely have opposed me, if I were not in some way acting for good.”
For Socrates death was good. Death was one of two things. Either to be dead is not to exist, to have no awareness at all, or it is, as the stories tell, a kind of alteration, a change of abode for the soul from this place to another. Socrates believed that to die and be released was better. In the same reason he was not angry with the accusers, or to his condemners; they have done no harm, although neither of them does him any good; and for this he may gently blame them. In the end, Socrates takes his words seriously to the heart and does not label anyone evil. All of them play an important role. They act according to their characters. To die is something not to be feared of.