Study Questions for Plato's Apology

*    Do NOT turn the answers to these questions in! These questions are intended to help you on the philosophically relevant issues of the text.

*    These questions as well as links to the text and interpretations can be found on my web-page:  In the future study questions will only be posted on my webpage but will not be distributed in class.


1.     If you had to divide the Apology into three or four segments, what would those sections be? What happens in each part?

2.     Who has brought the charges against Socrates?

3.     What are the charges that the jury must consider?

4.     Socrates says he has gotten a bad reputation because he has a “kind of wisdom.” What is this wisdom?

5.     Recount Socrates’ tale of how he got his mission from the god or oracle at Delphi.

6.     After hearing the god’s opinion, what did Socrates think was his religious duty?

7.     What is Socrates’ answer to each charge?

8.     Why do you think that Socrates claims he knows that doing wrong and disobeying a superior would be wicked and shameful? 

9.     Why does Socrates think that the Athenians would be harming themselves rather than harming Socrates if they put him to death? What service has he provided the city of Athens by philosophizing there?

10. Do you think Socrates is wise to disregard the possibility that he may die if he does not please the court?

11. Socrates claims that he has always had within him a divine voice which sometimes stops him from saying or doing something, but never urges him to do anything. Why does he think the voice has usually stopped him from participating directly in the political life?

12. What minor political offices has Socrates held, and what did he do to offend his colleagues? What is his point in recounting these episodes?

13. How did Socrates show by his actions that the risk of death is unimportant to him in his example of the service to the Council and the trial of the ten generals?

14. Why did Socrates refuse to follow the orders from the Thirty to bring Leon from Salamis for execution?

15. What does Socrates think about exile as a punishment?

16. What does Socrates think he deserves for his “crimes”? What do you think of his proposal?

17. Why does Socrates eventually propse a fine?

18. Who does Socrates consider to be the true loser as a result of what he considers an unjust sentence?

19. Why is it better to escape doing wrong than to escape death?

20. What does Socrates predict will happen soon after his death?

21. Why does Socrates think that "an unexamined life is not worth living?"

22. Why does Socrates think that there is good reason to believe that death is a good?


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