In the earlier part of Plato's apology, Socrates has successfully dismissed the accusation proposed by Meletus. But finally the jury votes him guilty. Is there any solid reason that Meletus used to...

In the earlier part of Plato's apology, Socrates has successfully dismissed the accusation proposed by Meletus. But finally the jury votes him guilty. Is there any solid reason that Meletus used to refute Socrates's cross-examination?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Plato's Apology Socrates is accused of searching into many things and then making "the worse appear the better cause." He is also accused of considering himself the wisest of all. Representing the poets, Meletus has charged Socrates with having corrupted the youth. However, in his elenchus, or cross-examination, Socrates uses his method of incisive questioning with Meletus and, by doing so, he demonstrates that Meletus's questions are grounded in a desire to avenge himself against Socrates rather than the conviction that Socrates is truly guilty of any crime because with each question Meletus adamantly asserts that it is unequivocally true:

SOCRATES: And when you accuse me of corrupting and deteriorating the youth, do you allege that I corrupt them intentionally or unintentionally?

MELETUS: Intentionally, I say.

SOCRATES: But you have just admitted that the good do their neighbours good, and the evil do them evil. Now, is that a truth which your superior wisdom has recognized....

Socrates demonstrates through his questioning that Meletus is not being logical, but merely vindictive. Furthermore, there is nothing in Meletus's remarks that refutes Socrates's questioning. Rather, Socrates is found guilty more because he fails to address and answer the charges than he is really guilty of corrupting the youth.

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