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[17a - 18a] [18b - 20c] [20d - 24b] [24c - 25e] [26a - 28a] [28b - 30d] [30e - 31c] [31d - 33b]
[33c - 34b] [34c - 35d] [35e - 37a] [37b - 38c] [38d - 39e] [40a - 42a]

Speech II: Sentencing

(12) What Socrates Requests
37b-38c

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Perhaps you think that I am braving you in what I am saying

Jowett's Notes

now, as in what I said before about the tears and prayers. But  
this is not so. I speak rather because I am convinced that I The consciousness of innocence gives him confidence.
never intentionally wronged any one, although I cannot
convince you - the time has been too short; if there were a law  
37b at Athens, as there is in other cities, that a capital cause should  
not be decided in one day, then I believe that I should have  
convinced you. But I cannot in a moment refute great  
slanders; and, as I am convinced that I never wronged  
another, I will assuredly not wrong myself. I will not say of  
myself that I deserve any evil, or propose any penalty. Why  
should I? Because I am afraid of the penalty of death which  
Meletus proposes? When I do not know whether death is a  
good or an evil, why should I propose a penalty which would  
 

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Ruins of the Prison in Athens
Photo: Steven S. Tigner

certainly be an evil? Shall  
I say imprisonment? And  
why should I live in prison,  
37c and be the slave of the  
magistrates of the year -  
of the Eleven? Or shall the  
penalty be a fine, and  
imprisonment until the fine  
is paid? There is the same objection. I should have to lie in No alternative in his own judgment preferable to death.
prison, for money I havenone, and cannot pay. And if I say
exile (and this may possibly be the penalty which you will  
affix), I must indeed be blinded by the love of life, if I am  
so irrational as to expect that when you, who are my own  
citizens, cannot endure my discourses and words, and have  
37d found them so grievous and odious that you will have  
no more of them, others are likely to endure me. No  
indeed, men of Athens, that is not very likely. And what a  
changing my place of exile, and always being driven out! For  
life should I lead, at my age, wandering from city to city, ever  
I am quite sure that wherever I go, there, as here, the young  
men will flock to me; and if I drive them away, their elders will  
37e drive me out at their request; and if I let them come, their  
fathers and friends will drive me out for their sakes.  

 
Some one will say: Yes, Socrates, but cannot you hold your For wherever he goes he must speak out.
tongue, and then you may go into a foreign city, and no one
will interfere with you? Now I have great difficulty in making  
you understand my answer to this. For if I tell you that to do  
as you say would be a disobedience to the God, and therefore  
that I cannot hold my tongue, you will not believe that I am  
38a serious; and if I say again that daily to discourse about virtue,  
and of those other things about which you hear me examining  
myself and others, is the greatest good of man, and that the  
unexamined life is not worth living, you are still less likely to  
believe me. Yet I say what is true, although a thing of which it  
is hard for me to persuade you. Also, I have never been  
accustomed to think that I deserve to suffer any harm. Had I  
money I might have estimated the offence at what I was able to  
pay, and not have been much the worse. But I have none, and  
38b therefore I must ask you to proportion the fine to my means.  
Well, perhaps I could afford a mina, and therefore I propose  
that penalty: Plato, Crito, Critobulus, and Apollodorus, my  
friends here, bid me say thirty minae, and they will be the  
sureties. Let thirty minae be the penalty; for which sum they  
38c will be ample security to you.  
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