In the passage The Apology, Socrates was brought to trial on the charges of believing in false gods and corrupting the youth of Athens. Socrates responds to the charges brought against him by beginning to cross examine Meletus. He wants Meletus to explain exactly what a good influence is and how is Socrates a bad influence on the youth. Meletus explains that councilmen and laws make a good influence on the youth. He also states that if he is harming the youth it would of been done unintentionally, which therefore would causes Meletus accusation to be a lie.
Socrates believes that harming someone else would come back eventually to harm himself, so any sane man would never want to bring harm to themselves, so it’s not possible for his accusation be valid. He was never was anyone’s teacher therefore can not justly be held accountable for any good or bad doing on others account, because he does not gotten paid to speak or teach. (33a-b). Socrates then calls out Meletus to bring forward any witnesses, or family that have been victims to this “corrupting” and it seemed he had no one, so Socrates proclaims he is innocent on this account. 33d-34b).
On the second charge brought up against him by Meletus of not believing in the Athenian gods, Socrates uses a similar tactic to try to prove his accuser wrong. He first makes Meletus clarify the charge and then begins to question the authenticity of the charge. He then catches Meletus contradicting himself by first saying Socrates believes in no gods and believes in gods. (26C-27). Socrates then uses Meletus own deposition against him saying Meletus stated Socrates believes in divine entities, and now is claiming he believes in no divinities at all. (27d-b).
Socrates explains how this is not possible to not believe in god and believe in divine entities it would be like believing in human affairs and not believing in humans. Socrates tells the court that Meletus is charging him on charges he has never cared about before that he is known for irresponsibly bringing people to court. (24c). Socrates then turns the tables on his accusers saying he is not arguing for himself but for the behalf of the jury because a soul of a better man can not be harmed of the acts of worse. Socrates believes he is indeed wiser than his accusers because he is here to do the work of god.
He is here in Athens to examine life and find the truth in people. He searched for wisdom in the well respected people of Athens, which the citizens saw very wise and knowledgeable. Socrates explains how he would go search for someone wiser than himself and no one is wiser than Socrates. (21a). He would examine people that were well respected and looked up to in Athenian society such as, politicians, poets, craftsman, and other people with high reputations. He came to realization that people on the streets could speak or understand their craft better than the experts.
Socrates is wiser than them because he does claim to know what he does not know. (22c. ). He found that people claimed to be experts in fields that weren’t their expertise which made them unwise in comparison to himself. He says if you are to put me to death you will be harming yourselves more than you will harm me. Socrates warned the people of Athens that they will find no other like him, because he was a gift to the state from god ,and if they do kill him they would sin against god in condemning socrates and sinning against the gift of divinity. (30d-e).
Socrates view on death is it is nothing to fear because no one knows anything about it. How can you fear something you have not experienced. He sees death as it could be blessing as it would be like a long dream without sleeping. Those who think of death as evil must be mistaken that it will either have no perception of anything or it will be relocating of the soul. He believes either will be great with having a dreamless sleep or being able to keep company with philosophers before him such as Orpheus and Homer, which then he proclaims he is willing to die many times if that is true. 40e-41a).
Socrates does not fear death as his fellow Athenian citizens do. He believes it may as well be other way to examine a whole other way of life. He tells the court who has sentenced him to death that only god knows who will end up in a better place you or I. (42a). He told the court he will not beg for his life or have people beg for his life, because he will stop philosophizing as long as he lives. Socrates says he is ready for death ,if he can no longer do what he sent down from god to do,for as though it is his next chapter where the possibilities could possibly be endless.