Explain why Socrates is qualified for the death penalty.

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Athenian legal procedures were divided into two parts. The first part involved the jury voting on the guilt of the accused and the second part determining the penalty if the accused was found guilty.

Plato's Apology only gives us a reconstruction of Socrates' defense. It is unlikely to have...

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Athenian legal procedures were divided into two parts. The first part involved the jury voting on the guilt of the accused and the second part determining the penalty if the accused was found guilty.

Plato's Apology only gives us a reconstruction of Socrates' defense. It is unlikely to have been an accurate transcription, but rather Plato's understanding of the philosophical assumptions behind Socrates' choices. We do not have preserved the case made by the accusers. 

The crime of which Socrates was accused was asebeia, or impiety. This meant refusal to honor the gods of the city or doing something to offend those gods. The problem with impiety was that the Greeks believed that if the gods were offended with one inhabitant of the polis, they might take revenge on the entire city (as one can see in Oedipus Rex). Therefore, when Socrates was found guilty of impiety, he was given the choice of exile or death, so that his presence would not offend the gods. Socrates chose the death penalty over exile, a choice that was considered very unusual in the period. Plato's Phaedo and Crito explain some of the reasons for this choice. 

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