Conversations of Socrates Chapter Abstracts for Teachers

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Chapter 1, Socrates' Defense

• The editor presents Socrates' Defense first as it is Xenophon's earliest Socratic dialogue and permits a comparison between the accounts of Socrates' trial as told by Xenophon and Plato.

• The author's purpose is to defend Socrates. He chooses Xenophon's account because it covers more historical ground, including Socrates' thoughts prior to the trial, some of his speeches at the trial, and his behavior afterward. The author's choice is in spite of the fact that Plato's "The Apology" is superior in many aspects because Plato is more eloquent, more humorous, and a better philosopher.

• Though it is unclear if Socrates actually said what both Xenophon and Plato claim, the main charges of not recognizing the same gods as the State, introducing new deities, and corrupting the young are the same. However, Xenophon's account of Socrates' speech seems heavily influenced by his own themes.

• In opening Socrates'...

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