That was your idea of an apology, old man?—that preposterous collection of sophistry and insults? Did you forget you were talking to a jury of 500 farmers? Athens is still a democracy, whatever you may wish. 251 farmers can stop all debate. We expected better from you, Socrates. You can grimace all you want. Flail your arms at fate: your arguing days are over. That cup of poison you drank like honeyed wine has already done what no man in Athens could do; it has silenced you. In a few minutes, it will finish killing you, and for what—because you refuse to escape? To honor a government whose laws you despise? Do your friends mean nothing to you? Don’t try to get up. Your legs are gone. The time for you to answer for yourself has passed, but what do you care? Philosophers make dying their profession. All these years we gathered at your feet to hear you talk. Now it’s your turn to listen. I was twelve when you stopped me in the agora! You think you can be easily replaced? You didn’t have to accuse them of jealousy, Socrates, or tell them so many times how special you are. You could have saved yourself and gone on to torment them like a gadfly in your own time. You got yourself swatted. You didn’t think of me. Where do I find a new mentor? You tell me the unexamined life is not worth living: well, I’ve examined mine! You corrupted me. You stole my father and you stole my Athens—guilty as charged— and now you sit there and you don’t say anything. What gives you the right to kill the only man I trust? You go now. Go and ruin the afterlife for me, too.

Copyright © July 26, 2007 David Hodges