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
Part of his philosophy was not to participate in politics, which made this the perfect opportunity to spread his ideas to people, and instead of apologizing he wants them to think about what no one else mentions. 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. And he implies that if a skilful speaker is one who will speak this truth, then he is indeed a skilful speaker. This is not intended to make others feel that his actions were for his own self gratification. An additional reason the audience is absorbed within his "naturally spoken" speech is the fact that it is delivered in a sarcastic tone. Throughout his speech, Socrates is not actually defending his life, but preaching his philosophy. In his speech, he argues that majority rule is not justice, but that truth is, and this is all that he has been seeking his whole life. They were adamant about keeping the status quo within their community, in order to ensure their own political stability, and Socrates, having threatened it through questions became a profitable target for being killed or exiled. Contradictions arise once again as his defense comes to an end when he brings into the picture his family, particularly his children. While Socrates is proving his point that Meletus is the one to be blamed, Meletus inquires about Socrates"tms own religious beliefs, stating ""I say you disbelieve in gods altogether" (pg. Socrates was simply trying to get across to the world that some of the men who were labeled wise were not. He believes that as long as he can influence people with his thoughts, his life has been worthwhile. In order to influence these people, though, a plea to the jury would not have been sufficient. Although Socrates is supposedly trying to prove his innocence and tell the truth, he stays away from this inquiry and in response asks Meletus another question about his motives in asking the question. The relentless questioning by Socrates is another aspect that saturates this provocation.