‘Someone will probably say, ‘But, Socrates, can’t you live in exile without talking, just keeping your peace? Surely you can do that?’ To convince some of you about this is the most difficult thing of all.
If I say ‘that would be to disobey the god; how can I keep my peace, then?’, you’ll not believe me because you’ll think I’m dissembling; if on the other hand I say that it actually is the greatest good for a human being to get into discussion, every day, about goodness and the other subjects you hear me talking and examining myself and others about, and that for a human being a life without examination is actually not worth living – if I say that, you’ll be even less convinced.
But that’s how I say it, Athenians; it just not easy to convince you.’
Socrates, quoted by Plato, SOCRATES’ DEFENCE
Socrates’ Defence or The Apology of Socrates is Plato‘s version of the speech given by Socrates as he defended himself in Athens in 399 BC against the charges of ‘corrupting the young, and by not believing in the gods in whom the city believes, but in other daimonia that are novel’. ‘Apology’ here has its earlier meaning (now usually expressed by the word ‘apologia) of speaking in defense of a cause or of one’s beliefs or actions. The Apology, which depicts the death of Socrates, is among the four Plato dialogues to detail the philosopher’s final days, along with Euthyphro, Phaedo, and Crito. Plato’s Apology is commonly regarded as the most reliable source of information about the historical Socrates, while it is believed it may have been one of Plato’s first writing. Read more.