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Socrates Self Portrayal

Imagine a hostile courtroom filled with hundreds of jurors and politicians who only wish harm upon the defendant. A rowdy audience is present, with only a scattering of supporters of the defendant and in a definite minority. This is what Socrates faced when he was the defendant, refuting charges of corrupting the youth of Athens among other accusations. Normally, one would plead with the jury in order to free himself from their wrath, but not Socrates. Knowing that his conviction was going to result in death, Socrates used clever tactics through powerful speech, filled with indirectness and sarcasm, to defy traditional law and turn his self-defense into a philosophical provocation in the hopes that he may influence the thought of others. While Socrates does seem to provide a defense for his life, upon further inspection, the reader finds that he has also forced upon the people of Athens more of his philosophy and perspectives on life. Socrates does this through the same powerful speech from which he supposedly will steer away. A powerful speech is made through diction as well as the sincerity with which it is given. Socrates also believes that the truthfulness of the speech is how the Athenians will be able to tell whether or not he is guilty, and he believes that, “…it is the pleader’s duty to speak the truth” (pg 38). And he implies that if a skilful speaker is one who will speak this truth, then he is indeed a skilful speaker. He says that his speech will be naturally spoken in the words that occur to him: “…What you will hear will be improvised thoughts in the first words that occur to me, confident as I am in the justice of my cause…” (pg. 37). His speech is said to be inelegant and straightforward, but it is actually refined and fluid. The accusations against him are laid forth first, and his response towards them follows. All the while his speech flows directly from one point to the next and the audi...

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Socrates Self Portrayal. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:51, September 01, 2014, from