The Apology was written by Plato and published around 399 BCE, shortly after the trial and death of Socrates, and is believed to be based on notes taken by Plato during the trial. In it, Plato presents us with Socrates as he coolly and steadfastly defends his way of life as unassailably just. Socrates’s speech is by no means an “apology” in our modern understanding of the word. Instead, the name of the dialogue derives from the Greek apologia, which translates as a defense, or a speech made in defense. Thus, in The Apology, Socrates attempts to defend himself and his conduct—certainly not to apologize for it. The dialogue is less concerned with asserting specific philosophical doctrines than it is with creating a portrait of the ideal philosopher.


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Key Terms & People

Reference these lists of key terms and people to consult as you study The Apology.