"A Choice" assignment: you are a juror at the trial of Socrates. what punishment would you argue for?

Essay by m44nagantUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, April 2004

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A Choice

Good men of Athens, as the leader of this jury I feel it is my duty to remind all of you that we are here to provide a service for our community. Any personal emotion must be suppressed in the interest of justice. Let me repeat that word: justice. The defendant has been found guilty of breaking the laws of this state. In effect he has violated certain standards of conduct that we as a society hold sacred. We must now decide his fate in an objective manner that is both fair and appropriate. For me the righteous path is clear: we must accept Socrates' assessment of thirty minae. I know this might sound absolutely crazy, but gentlemen please allow me the opportunity to explain my position.

Socrates was brought before this assembly to be charged with impiety, teaching false gods, and corrupting the Athenian youth. The meaning of the first charge can be expanded to include his unholy practice of defaming the character and reputation of people in a public forum.

Having heard him speak many times in passing, I cannot and will not dignify the second charge with a response. As for the third, I agree that it is true but to a limited extent. Socrates' belittling interrogations of people in the market place were not intended to harm anyone. The youth who were badly influenced by him are another example of unintentional harm. Young boys mimicked his actions for all the wrong reasons. Perhaps he should have explained to them what he was doing and why.

Two hundred and sixty-six of you voted for conviction, while two hundred and thirty-five of you voted for acquittal. This means that nearly half of you believed Socrates to be innocent of all charges. Of those jurors who voted...