How did Socrates defend himself against the charges brought against him?

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Socrates is charged with impiety. In Athens, this charge includes not believing in the Athenian gods, worshipping a false god or daimon, and corrupting the youth of Athens.

Socrates defends himself by saying he was prophesied to be a wise man by the Oracle of Delphi. Due to the prophecy, he believes his spiritual mission is to question people. Through questioning, he hopes to illuminate the difference between true and false wisdom. He cannot be an atheist as Meletus says. His actions are under the guidance of an accepted oracle. Meletus accuses him of being an atheist, and of following different daimons or gods than those of Athens. Socrates ridicules this as a logical contradiction. He cannot be both an atheist and a believer at the same time.

Primarily, Socrates’s argument is that he is neither an atheist nor following false daimons. He is worshipping the Athenian gods by asking questions and seeking to live a virtuous life. He implies that he does not need to conform by participating...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1009 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on March 5, 2020