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To not lose face, the beardless lads re-state the prejudicial, stock accusations against Socrates, that he is a morally abominable man who corrupts the youth of Athens with sophistry and atheism.
The Apology of Socrates begins with Socrates addressing the jury to ask if the men of Athens (the jury) have been persuaded by the Orators Lycon, Anytus, and Meletus, who have accused Socrates of corrupting the young people of the city and of impiety against the pantheon of Athens.
The first sentence of his speech establishes the theme of the dialogue — that philosophy begins with an admission of ignorance.
Socrates says to the court that these old accusations arise from years of gossip and prejudice against him; hence, are matters difficult to address.
He then embarrasses the accusing Orators, by reformulating their diffuse accusations against him into proper, legal form, that: "Socrates is committing an injustice, in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky; and makes the weaker argument the stronger; and teaches others to follow his example" (19b-c).
About corrupting Athenian youth, Socrates explained that the young, rich men of the city of Athens have little to do with their time.
They therefore follow him about the city, observing his questioning of intellectual arguments in dialogue with other intellectual men.In light of that definition, Socrates defensively argues that he cannot be mistaken for a Sophist philosopher because Sophists are wise men, are thought to be wise by the people of Athens, and, thus, are highly paid for their teaching; whereas he (Socrates) lives in ten-thousand-fold poverty, and knows nothing noble and good (23c).For his self-defence, Socrates first eliminates any claim that he is a wise man.He says that Chaerephon, reputed to be impetuous, went to the Oracle of Delphi and asked her, the Pythia, to tell him of anyone who was wiser than Socrates.The Pythia answered to Chaerephon that there was no man wiser.On learning of that oracular pronouncement, Socrates says he was astounded, because, on the one hand, it is against the nature of the Oracle to lie, but, on the other hand, he knew he was not wise.Therefore, Socrates sought to find someone wiser than himself, so that he could take that person as evidence to the Oracle at Delphi.Socrates also says that the accusations for which he is answering in court already had been spoken and published by the comic poet Aristophanes, and are therefore beyond the legal scope of a trial for corruption and impiety.Years earlier, in the play The Clouds (423 BC), Aristophanes lampooned Socrates as a charlatan, the paradigm philosopher of atheist and scientific sophistry — carefully arranged arguments constructed of ornate words and phrases — misrepresented as wisdom.Except for Socrates's two dialogues with Meletus, about the nature and logic of his accusations of impiety, the text of the Apology of Socrates is in the first-person perspective and voice of the philosopher Socrates (24d–25d and 26b–27d).Moreover, during the trial, in his speech of self-defence, Socrates twice mentions that Plato is present at the trial (34a and 38b).