Meletus's Argument In The Apology Of Socrates

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Greek philosophy often analyzed the big questions in life through the logic of science. However, one Athenian citizen created a new outlook on philosophy. Socrates was a Greek philosopher in Classical Greece living from 470 BC to 399 BC. He was proclaimed to the wisest man in Greece by the Oracle at Delphi and with that proclamation decided to become a philosopher. Before Socrates’ time, philosophy explained the natural world and the physical elements in it. Socrates was different, and inquired about ethics and morality. “With Socrates comes a sustained inquiry into ethical matters—an orientation towards human living and the best life for human beings.” (J.Graham). He was considered to be a Sophist (one who makes clever but false arguments), …show more content…
Socrates was not apologizing for anything. Apology comes from the Greek word apologia, meaning defence. Meletus had accused Socrates of the corruption of youth and impiety. There was a problem with the argument made by Meletus in the Apology because he was accusing Socrates of impiety. Meletus said that Socrates was impious for not worshipping the gods given to them by the law. However, Socrates did worship other deities. He didn’t believe in the specific gods the rest of the Athenians did. Meletus believed Socrates was a complete atheist. Socrates did believe in something higher than him. Many times throughout the dialogue Socrates mentioned dishonor and fear of death. One should not be afraid of death, but afraid to dishonor those above him. “My only fear was the fear of doing an unrighteous or unholy thing.” (Apology, Plato, 16). Because of the arguments he put forth it has led some to believe that he knew he was going to be convicted, and was not really trying to save himself, but put forth a good debate. Socrates stated that civil law of Athens was not what forced him to behave himself. It was the fear of not doing what was right for the gods (the ones he did believe in). Apollo and the Oracle had given Socrates his life to philosophize. He would never disobey them in order to be acquitted by the courts. He proclaimed that wealth and fame didn’t compare to the task of perfecting his soul. Dishonoring the higher beings was far more important, and it was more worth it to be a poor man on the street. Wrongfully putting a man to death was far more impious and worse than death itself. Executing him was not worth it because Socrates was a ‘gadfly’; even though he was annoying, people were more aware of the matters around