Apology HTML version

saying, they have hardly uttered a word, or not more than a
word, of truth; but you shall hear from me the whole truth:
not, however, delivered after their manner, in a set oration
duly ornamented with words and phrases. No indeed! but I
shall use the words and arguments which occur to me at the
moment; for I am certain that this is right, and that at my
time of life I ought not to be appearing before you, O men of
Athens, in the character of a juvenile orator - let no one
expect this of me. And I must beg of you to grant me one
favor, which is this - If you hear me using the same words in
my defence which I have been in the habit of using, and
which most of you may have heard in the agora, and at the
tables of the money-changers, or anywhere else, I would ask
you not to be surprised at this, and not to interrupt me. For
I am more than seventy years of age, and this is the first
time that I have ever appeared in a court of law, and I am
quite a stranger to the ways of the place; and therefore I
would have you regard me as if I were really a stranger,
whom you would excuse if he spoke in his native tongue,
and after the fashion of his country; - that I think is not an
unfair request. Never mind the manner, which may or may
not be good; but think only of the justice of my cause, and
give heed to that: let the judge decide justly and the speaker
By Plato
Translated by Benjamin Jowett
Socrates’ Defense
How you have felt, O men of Athens, at hearing the
speeches of my accusers, I cannot tell; but I know that their
persuasive words almost made me forget who I was - such
was the effect of them; and yet they have hardly spoken a
word of truth. But many as their falsehoods were, there was
one of them which quite amazed me; - I mean when they
told you to be upon your guard, and not to let yourselves be
deceived by the force of my eloquence. They ought to have
been ashamed of saying this, because they were sure to be
detected as soon as I opened my lips and displayed my defi-
ciency; they certainly did appear to be most shameless in
saying this, unless by the force of eloquence they mean the
force of truth; for then I do indeed admit that I am elo-
quent. But in how different a way from theirs! Well, as I was