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by Plato
Translated by Benjamin Jowett
This Euthyphro and Socrates are represented as
meeting in the porch of the King Archon. (Com-
pare Theaet.) Both have legal business in hand.
Socrates is defendant in a suit for impiety which
Meletus has brought against him (it is remarked
by the way that he is not a likely man himself to
have brought a suit against another); and Euthyphro
too is plaintiff in an action for murder, which he has
brought against his own father. The latter has origi-
nated in the following manner:—A poor dependant
of the family had slain one of their domestic slaves
in Naxos. The guilty person was bound and thrown
into a ditch by the command of Euthyphro’s fa-
ther, who sent to the interpreters of religion at Ath-
ens to ask what should be done with him. Before
the messenger came back the criminal had died
from hunger and exposure.
This is the origin of the charge of murder which
Euthyphro brings against his father. Socrates is con-
fident that before he could have undertaken the
responsibility of such a prosecution, he must have
IN THE MENO, Anytus had parted from Socrates with
the significant words: ‘That in any city, and par-
ticularly in the city of Athens, it is easier to do men
harm than to do them good;’ and Socrates was
anticipating another opportunity of talking with
him. In the Euthyphro, Socrates is awaiting his trial
for impiety. But before the trial begins, Plato would
like to put the world on their trial, and convince
them of ignorance in that very matter touching
which Socrates is accused. An incident which may
perhaps really have occurred in the family of
Euthyphro, a learned Athenian diviner and sooth-
sayer, furnishes the occasion of the discussion.