Corruption of Youth
“Socrates is a doer of evil and corrupter of the youth, and he does not believe in the gods of the state. He has other new divinities of his own.”(Apology 41) In The Apology, by Plato, these are the accusations brought against Socrates during his trial. Socrates claims that he did not consciously corrupt the youth of Athens, and he gives many reasons why he is not at fault for their actions. In Socrates defense to the jury, he claims that by looking at the facts, the jury will see that Meletus is accusing him of something that is not his fault. Socrates states that he is not responsible for the corruption of the youth, because he was not aware that he was leading them astray.
Meletus and Socrates do not have the same definition of corruption. Meletus claims that what Socrates is doing is wrong. Meletus views the corruption of the youth as Socrates telling the children to believe in certain gods contrary to what gods the public believes in. Socrates says that he is not corrupting the youth, because that would mean he was harming them and he knows that he is not.
Socrates’ defense is well-thought out and logical. Socrates asks Meletus a question, Meletus answers and then Socrates moves on to the next question to support his claim that he is not a “ villainous misleader of youth” (Apology 41). Socrates thinks that simply presenting a point to the jury, without convincing them is enough. Socrates tries proving his case to the jury by questioning Meletus about his beliefs.
This passage is essential in his defense to the jury. Socrates asks Meletus, “ Then every Athenian improves and elevates them, all with the exception of myself. I alone am their corrupter? Is that what you say?” Meletus answers by saying, “Most definitely” (Apology 42). In this instance, Socrates had made a mockery of Meletus by having him state to the jury that Socrates, alone, is the corrupter of youth and all ...