The Trial of Socrates

	
Parts: (11)	NARRATOR	CLEON	DIODORUS	JUDGE #1	JUDGE#2		JUDGE #3
		SOCRATES	PLATO	XANTHIPPE 	XENOPHON	CRITO
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NARRATOR:  IN 399 B.C. A 70-YEAR OLD MAN WAS PUT ON TRIAL. HE WAS CHARGED WITH TWO CRIMES AGAINST
           THE STATE: IMPIETY (LACK OF REVERENCE FOR THE GODS) AND CORRUPTING THE YOUNG, BOTH
           ARISING FROM HIS PROFESSION OF TEACHER. THE WHOLE INCIDENT PROBABLY WOULD HAVE BEEN LONG
           FORGOTTEN, BUT THE MAN WAS SOCRATES, THE FATHER OF PHILOSOPHY, AND THE PLACE WAS ATHENS,
           THE BIRTHPLACE OF DEMOCRACY. THE TRIAL OF SOCRATES PROVIDES ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO KNOW
           WHO HE WAS, WHAT HE STOOD FOR, AND WHY ANCIENT ATHENS IS SO IMPORTANT TO THE STUDY OF
           WESTERN CIYILIZATION. WHAT WE KNOW OF THE MAN AND THE TRIAL WE HAVE HAD TO GLEAN FROM 
           THE WRITINGS OF HIS STUDENTS, NAMELY XENOPHON AND PLATO. THEY BOTH KEPT VERY GOOD 
           LECTURE NOTES, HOWEVER, AND WERE PRESENT AT THE TRIAL AND DEATH OF SOCRATES. UNDER 
           THE STATESMAN PERICLES, WHO LED ATHENS FROM 460 TO 429 B.C., THE CITY ENJOYED A TIME
           OF GREATNESS. THE ARTS FLOURISHED. PHILOSOPHERS LIKE SOCRATES PROMOTED INTELLECTUAL
           THOUGHT, AND ATHENIANS TOOK ACTIVE ROLES IN POLITICAL LIFE.  BUT THIS ENVIRONMENT OF
           FREE THOUGHT DID NOT LAST. DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT IN ATHENS WAS OVERTHROWN IN 404 B.C.,
           THE YEAR OF ITS DEFEAT BY SPARTA. AN OLIGARCHY (A FORM OF GOVERNMENT IN WHICH A FEW 
           PEOPLE HAVE THE RULING POWER) WAS ESTABLISHED. IN 403 B.C. THE OLIGARCHY WAS OVERTHROWN
           AND DEMOCRACY WAS RESTORED. ALTHOUGH HE PARTICIPATED, LIKE ALL CITIZENS, IN THE
           GOVERNMENT OF ATHENS, SOCRATES OFTEN CRITICIZED DEMOCRACY AS MEDIOCRE AND INEFFICIENT.
           BECAUSE HE HAD FRIENDS AMONG THE DEPOSED OLIGARCHY AND STUDENTS WHO SIDED WITH SPARTA 
           IN ITS WAR AGAINST ATHENS, HE WAS DISTRUSTED BY MEMBERS OF THE RESTORED DEMOCRATIC
           GOVERNMENT. SOCRATES WAS BROUGHT TO TRIAL CHARGED WITH IMPIETY AND CORRUPTION OF THE
           YOUNG. ANIMOSITY AGAINST HIM FOR HIS POLITICAL VIEWS LAY BEHIND THESE CHARGES.

SCENE ONE>/b> TAKES PLACE IN THE MARKETPLACE OF ATHENS LATE ONE AFTERNOON IN THE YEAR 399 B.C.

CLEON:	   WHY IS THE MARKET SO EMPTY TODAY, DIODORUS?

DIODCRUS:  I'M SURPRISED AT YOU. TODAY IS THE TRIAL DF THE "GADFLY."

CLEON:     YES, I REMEMBER. TODAY ATHENS WILL SEE SOCRATES ANSWERING QUESTIONS. I'VE SEEN HIM FOR
           YEARS IN THIS VERY MARKETPLACE, MOVING FROM PERSON TO PERSON ASKING HIS INFERNAL
           QUESTIONS--PESTERING EVERYONE WHEN THEY HAVE IMPORTANT MATTERS TO THINK ABOUT. YES, IT
           WILL BE REFRESHING TO SEE THE JUDGES ASKING THE QUESTIONS AND SOCRATES COMING UP WITH
           THE  ANSWERS. I HOPE THEY QUIET HIS PESTERING TONGUE.
 
DIODORUS:  I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN, CLEON. I WAS SPEAKING TO AGAMEMNON LAST WEEK ABOUT THE VIRTUES 
           OF DEMOCRACY, WHEN FROM NOWHERE SOCRATES BOBBED UP. YOU CAN NEVER HEAR HIM COMING 
           BECAUSE HE DOESN'T WEAR SANDALS. HE SAYS HE PREFERS TO ALLOW HIS BARE FEET TO TOUCH 
           THE EARTH--IT IS LIKE TRUTH, HE SAYS: YOU CAN'T GET TO IT UNTIL YOU HAVE REMOVED ALL 
           THE BARRIERS THAT STAND IN YOUR WAY. NOW, IF THAT ISN'T ENOUGH TO CONVINCE YOU THAT 
           THE MAN IS A TROUBLEMAKER, I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS. BUT ANYWAY, BACK TO MY STORY. HE
           IMMEDIATELY ASKED AGAMEMNON, "WHAT IS DEMOCRACY?" I GUESS HE HAD BEEN LISTENING TO OUR
           CONVERSATION.

CLEON:     REALLY? WHY EVERY ATHENIAN KNOWS WHAT DEMOCRACY IS--AFTER ALL, WE DEVELOPED IT!

DIODORUS:  YES, BUT HE KEPT ASKING US TO DEFINE IT. FINALLY, I TOLD HIM.  DEMOCRACY MEANS THAT WE 
           ARE FREE MEN, EQUAL IN OUR RIGHTS, AND GOVERNED BY RULERS THAT WE FREELY ELECT.

CLEON:     (CHUCKLING): HE CERTAINLY COULDN'T FIND FAULT WITH THAT.

DIODORUS:  OH, DON'T BELIEVE IT, CLEON. THE OLD PHILOSOPHER THEN ASKED ME WHO I MEANT BY 
          "WE"--WAS "WE" EVERYONE WHO LIVED IN ATHENS?

CLEON:     COME NOW, DIODORUS; HE WAS SURELY JESTING. EVERY MAN KNOWS THAT DEMOCRACY HAS TO DO 
           WITH THE RIGHTS OF CITIZENS; THAT ONLY CITIZENS CAN VOTE AND BE JUDGED EQUAL UNDER 
           THE LAWS.

DIODORUS:  IT'S OBVIOUS YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN HOUNDED BY SOCRATES. HE NEVER GIVES UP: WHAT IS
           FREEDOM? WHO IS FREE? WHAT IS EQUALITY? ALL MANNER OF SILLY QUESTIONS WHOSE ANSWER
           ARE JUST PLAIN OBVIOUS TO ANY INTELLIGENT MAN. I'LL TELL YOU HE HAD AGAMEMNON AND 
           ME SO CONFUSED THAT I DEVELOPED A THUNDERING HEADACHE AND HAD TO LEAVE. BUT NOT 
           BEFORE TELLING THE OLD PEST THAT HE WAS A MASTER OF CLEVER BUT MlSLEADING ARGUMENTS.

CLEON:	   WHAT DID HE SAY TO THAT?

DEODORUS:  HE JUST SMILED AND WISHED US BOTH WELL. WE SAW HIM SHUFFLE OVER TOWARD DAMON AND JASON
           WHO WERE STANDING AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE MARKETPLACE. WE WERE BOTH GLAD TO SEE HIM GO,
           BUT FELT SORRY FOR DAMON AND JASON. HE REALLY ISN'T A BAD OLD CHARACTER, AND HIS
           INTELLECT IS VAST, BUT THOSE BLASTED QUESTIONS ....

CLEON:     I DON'T AGREE. THOSE OUESTIONS ARE THE SEEDS FROM WHICH MORE DANGEROUS THINGS CAN GROW. 
           IT IS ABOUT TIME THE LAW DID SOMETHING TO SILENCE HIM AND END HIS HARASSMENT OF THE 
           GOOD CITIZENS OF ATHENS. WHY, THE MERE IDEA OF ASKING WHAT DEMOCRACY IS ... BY THE WAY,
           DID I TELL YOU ABOUT THE NEW SLAVE I BOUGHT YESTERDAY? HE ISN'T WORTH THE SALT I TRADED
           FOR HIM.

NARRATOR:  SCENE TWO TAKES PLACE THAT SAME AFTERNOON IN THE COUNCIL HALL, THE ACROPOLIS; THREE 
           JUDGES SIT BEHIND A TABLE AND THE ROOM IS FULL OF CITIZENS.

JUDGE #1:  HAVE THE GUARDS BRING IN SOCRATES.

NARRATOR:  SOCRATES ENTERS. HE IS GRAY AND STOOPED. HIS ROBE IS WORN, AND HE IS BAREFOOT. GUARDS
           ESCORT HIM FIRMLY BUT RESPECTFULLY.

JUDGE #2:  SOCRATES OF ATHENS, YOU ARE CHARGED WITH TWO TREASONOUS CRIMES. YOU DO NOT RECOGNIZE
           THE GODS OF THE STATE, AND YOU HAVE CORRUPTED THE YOUTH OF ATHENS.

SOCRATES:  THE JUDGES OF ATHENS ACCUSE ME UNJUSTLY. I HAVE NEVER DISPUTED THE EXISTENCE OF THE
           GODS. I MYSELF AM ORDERED BY THEM TO FULFILL MY PHILOSOPHER'S MISSION--TO CAUSE MEN 
           TO SEARCH INTO THEMSELVES FOR TRUTH. I CANNOT BE CHARGED WITH IMPIETY, FOR I AM DOING 
           THE GODS' WORK. MY LIFE IS PROOF OF MY BELIEF.

JUDGE #3:  THAT IS ALL VERY WELL, SOCiRATES, BUT IT HAS 8EEN REPORTED THAT YOU HAVE QUESTIONED
           OTHERS CONCERNING THEIR BELIEFS. YOUR QUESTIONS HAVE CAUSE DOUBT AND OFFENSE.

SOCRATES:  IT IS NOT MY WISH TO CREATE DOUBT OR OFFENSE TO ANY OF THE GOOD CITIZENS OF THIS GREAT
           CITY. I SEEK TRUTH AND WISDOM. MY QUESTIONS SHOULD NOT WEAKEN BELIEF BUT GIVE IT NEW
           STRENGTH.

JUDGE #2:  I SEE YOU BELIEVE YOURSELF TO BE A KIND OF CONSCIENCE FOR ALL OF ATHENS.

SOCRATES:  YES, THROUGH MY INQUIRIES EACH MAN WILL KNOW HIMSELF AND THROUGH THAT KNOWLEDGE ATHENS
           AND HER GODS WILL GROW GREATER

JUDGE #2:  BUT SOCRATES, ALL OF ATHENS KNOWS YOU CARE NOTHING ABOUT GREATNESS OR WEALTH.

SOCRATES:  BUT I CARE VERY MUCH ABOUT THE TRUTH, AND GREATNESS COMES THROUGH FINDING THE TRUTH.

NARRATOR.  A WOMAN ENTERS. SHE IS IN HER EARLY 40'S, CARRYING A SMALL CHILD.

XANTHIPPE: JUDGES OF ATHENS, EXCUSE MY PRESENCE, BUT I COME TO PLEAD FOR MY HUSBAND, SOCRATES. 
           I KNOW FULL WELL HOW DIFFICULT HE CAN BE, BUT HE IS A GOOD MAN. HE IS PIOUS IN HIS
           BELIEFS AND HE IS AN HONORABLE CITIZEN OF ATHENS. I BEG FOR HIS RELEASE. HE IS OLD. 
           LET HIM COME WITH ME, AND I WILL TRY TO KEEP HIM SILENT IN HIS REMAINING YEARS.

JUDGE #2.  REMOVE HER. A WOMAN HAS NO PLACE IN SUCH MATTERS.

NARRATOR:  THE GUARDS GENTLY BUT QUICKLY TAKE HER OUT.

JUDGE #1:  SOCRATES, YOU ARE ALSO CHARGED WITH CORRUPTING THE YOUTH OF ATHENS. WHAT DO YOU SAY 
           TO THIS ACCUSATION?

SOCRATES:  THIS CHARGE HURTS ME DEEPLY. MY LIFE HAS BEEN A SEARCH FOR TRUTH AND WISDOM.. MY 
           STUDENTS ARE AS DEAR TO ME AS BEAUTY IS TO ATHENS. I COULD NO MORE CORRUPT THEM THAN 
           AN ATHENIAN COULD DEFILE THE PARTHENON. I WANT FOR THEM THE HIGHEST OF PLEASURES AND
           THE ONE TRUE GOOD: TRUTH!

JUDGE #i:  BUT SOCRATES, YOU HAVE CAUSED THEM TO QUESTION THE COUNCIL, THE MAGISTRATES, THE VERY
           DEMOCRACY OF ATHENS. THEY FOLLOW YOU THROUGH ATHENS AND LISTEN TO QUESTIONS. THEY SEE
           THE IRRITATION YOU CAUSE. THEY LEARN YOUR METHOD OF QUESTIONING, AND THEY BECOME LIKE
           YOU. WHEN THEY ARE OLDER, THEY WILL BECOME CITIZENS AND WILL TAKE A RESPONSIBLE ROLE 
           IN THE GOVERNMENT. HOW CAN THEY DO THIS IF THEY ARE CONSTANTLY TEARING DOWN OUR 
           DEMOCRACY BY SUCH QUESTONS? IT IS COMMONLY KNOWN  THAT YOU HAVE CRITICIZED OUR 
           DEMOCRACY AS CORRUPT. WE CANNOT CONTINUE TO LET YOU TEACH OUR YOUNG MEN.

SOCRATES:  IT IS TRUE THAT I ENCOURAGE MY STUDENTS TO QUESTION EVERYTHING, AND THAT I TEACH THEM
           METHODS I USE MYSELF. I DO THIS NOT TO MAKE THEM DISLOYAL TO ATHENS, BUT TO MAKE THEM
           THINK. IN ORDER TO FIND WISDOM AND TRUTH THEY MUST QUESTION. DO THE JUDGES SEE THE 
           SEARCH FOR TRUTH AS A CORRUPTING INFLUENCE?

JUDGE #3:  I WARN YOU, SOCRATES; DO NOT BE INSOLENT WITH US!

NARRATOR:  NOISE AND CONFUSION FILL THE CHAMBERS AS TWO YOUNG MEN HURRY TOWARD THE JUDGES.

JUDGE #1:  WHO ARE THESE MEN?

PLATO:     I AM PLATO AND (POINTING TO COMPANION:) THIS IS XENOPHON. WE ARE STUDENTS OF SOCRATES.

JUDGE #1:  WHAT DO YOU WANT? YOU ARE INTERRUPTING A TRIAL.

XENOPHON:  WE HAVE COME TO SPEAK ON BEHALF OF OUR BELOVED TEACHER, SOCRATES. WE FEAR FOR HIS LIFE
           AND BELIEVE WE ARE BEST ABLE TO SPEAK OF HIS TEACHING.

JUDGE #2:  VERY WELL, WE WILL ALLOW YOU TO SPEAK.

XENOPHON:  SOCRATES IS A GOOD AND KIND TEACHER. I HAVE NEVER SEEN HIM DO WRONG TO ANY MAN OR FAIL
           TO WANT OTHER MEN TO DO GOOD. HE MAKES US WORK HARD TO FIND THE TRUTH. WE LEARN TO
           QUESTION EVERYTHING: WHAT IS JUST? WHAT IS UNJUST? WHAT IS COURAGE? WHAT IS COWARDICE?
           WHAT IS GOOD GOVERNMENT? WHO SHOULD GOVERN?  HE MAKES  US THINK ABOUT OURSELVES AND 
           OUR WORLD.

JUDGE #3:  HAS SOCRATES EVER TAUGHT YOU TO QUESTION OUR DEMOCRACY?

PLATO:     SOCRATES TEACHES US TO QUESTION EVERYTHING FOR OURSELVES. HE DOES NOT SAY WHAT IS GOOD 
           OR WHAT IS BAD FOR US. WE EACH MUST REACH WISDOM THROUGH OUR OWN PATH.

XENOPHON:  OH, IT IS TRUE THAT SOCRATES MAY TELL US WHAT HE BELIEVES IS TRUE, BUT HE NEVER 
           EXPECTS US TO ACCEPT WHAT HE SAYS. HE TEACHES US MORE BY EXAMPLE THAN ANYTHING ELSE.
           HIS LIFE IS DEDICATED TO REASON. HE REJECTS MATERIAL WEALTH AND POWER. HE TEACHES US
           TO LOOK BEYOND THE OBVIOUS AND EXAMINE OUR OWN BELIEFS. HE IS THE GREATEST OF TEACHERS.
           PLATO AND I KEEP A RECORD OF ALL THAT HE SAYS, SINCE HE CARES NOTHING FOR FAME AND 
           WRITES NOTHING.

SOCRATES:  (INTERRUPTING): I AM TIRED. I HAVE LED A LIFE SACRIFICED TO  THE HIGHEST VIRTUES OF 
           TRUTH AND WISDOM. I SAY TO THE PEOPLE OF ATHENS, EITHER LET ME GO FREE OR CONDEMN ME,
           BUT WHATEVER  YOU DO, I WILL NOT CHANGE MY WAYS.

JUDGE #3:  SOCRATES, BE SILENT. YOU ARE AGAIN SHOWING A BELLIGERENT AND HAUGHTY ATTITUDE TOWARD 
           THIS COUNCIL.
 
SOCRATES:  (SMILING): I DO NOT FEAR YOU, FOR IF YOU KILL ME YOU WILL  HURT YOURSELVES MORE THAN 
           YOU WILL INJURE ME. ATHENS IS LIKE A MIGHTY STEED WHICH NEEDS TO BE PRODDED TO ACTION.
           I HAVE BEEN SENT BY THE GODS TO BE A SORT GADFLY WHO CAN STIR ATHEN5 TO ACTION WHEN SHE 
           HAS BECOME TOO SETTLED IN HER THOUGHTS. STRENGTH COMES FROM ADVERSITY.

NARRATOR:  THE CROWD BEGINS TO STIR AND THERE ARE CALLS FOR SOCRATES' DEATH.
 
JUDGE #2:  ENOUGH! WE HAVE ALL HEARD THE HAUGHTY WORDS OF SOCRATES. THERE IS NOTHING MORE TO 
           BE SAID. THE COUNCIL WILL NOW VOTE.

NARRATOR:  SOCRATES IS LED OUT BY THE TWO GUARDS. THE CROWD JEERS  AS HE LEAVES.

PLATO:     LET ME SPEAK! LET ME SPEAK!  HE IS THE BEST OF ALL THE MEN I  HAVE EVER KNOWN ...

JUDGE #1:  NO! IT IS OVER.

NARRAT0R:  THE COUNCIL NOW VOTES.


SCENE THREE FINDS US IN A LATE AFTERNOON ONE MONTH AFTER THE TRIAL IN A SMALL PRISON CELL.

PLATO:     THIS PAST MONTH YOUR DISCIPLES HAVE COME TO THIS CELL EVERY  DAY. YOU HAVE NOT SPOKEN 
           OF YOUR DEATH, BUT OF PHILOSOPHY. SOCRATES,  YOU ARE SO CALM!

SOCRATES:  WHY SHOULD I NOT BE CALM? I DON'T FEAR DEATH. I AM GIVING UP ONLY THE MOST DIFFICULT
           PART OF LIFE--THE PART THAT WILL SEE MY INTELLECT SLOWLY FADE. NO, I PREFER TO DIE AT 
           THE HEIGHT OF MY POWERS.

NARRATOR:  CRITO AND ANOTHER FRIEND ENTER.

CRITO:      SOCRATES, I AM HERE TO SAVE YOU. I HAVE BRIBED THE GUARDS AND YOU MAY ESCAPE. COME. WE 
            MUST HURRY!  

PLATO:      YES, HURRY, SOCRATES!  THIS IS OUR LAST HOPE!
  
SOCRATES:   WAIT MY YOUNG FRIENDS.  WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE ME DO? HOW WOULD MY ESCAPE FURTHER THE
            TRUTH?

CRITO (EXASPERATED):  NOT NOW!  WE CAN ANALYZE IT ALL LATER...

SOCRATES:   YOU WOULD HAVE ME ACT ON BLIND IMPULSE? THiS IS NOT  WHAT I HAVE TAUGHT YOU. REASON 
            MUST RULE OUR EVERY ACTION. I CAN'T RUN FROM MY FATE.  MY LIFE WAS HERE IN ATHENS. 
            MY PURPOSE WAS TO PROTECT THIS CITY FROM HERSELF. I WILL NOT LIVE WITHOUT HER.

CRITO:      SOMEONE IS COMING IT IS XANTHIPPE.

NARRATOR:   XANTHIPPE ENTERS CRYING AND SOBBING.

XANTHiPPE:  SOORATES,  MY HUSBAND. I HAVE COME TO BE WITH YOU IN YOUR FINAL MOMENTS. I AM FULL
            REGRET--YOU NEGLECTED US, IT IS TRUE, BUT YOU WERE KIND ALSO.

SOCRATES:   DEAR WiFE, I REGRET THE MANY DAYS I hAS ABSENT FROM YOU AND MY FAMILY. YOU WERE THE 
            BEST WIFE A MAN COULD HAVE.  YOU TOLERATED MY WAYS AND SUFFERED MUCH BECAUSE OF ME.
            PLATO, TAKE XANTHIPPE HOME. I DO NOT WANT HER TO SEE ME DIE. SHE hAS HAD ENOUGH PAIN.

NARRATOR:  PLATO TAKES XANTHIPPE AWAY.  A GUARD ENTERS CARRYING A GOBLET.

SOCRATES:  (QUIETLY REACHING FOR THE CUP) THIS HEMLOCK WILL QUENCH MY THIRST FOREVER. (DRINKS
           FROM THE GOBLET)

NARRATOR:  SOCRATES DRINKS THE HEMLOCK. CRITO SUPPORTS SOCRATES AS HE BEGINS TO WEAKEN. SOCRATES
           LIES DOWN AND DIES.