The First Trial of Socrates

Philosophy and Literature 41 (1):1-15 (2017)
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Before the Apology trial by five hundred of his fellow Athenians, Socrates is put on trial by a close associate, Alcibiades, in the Symposium. The first trial prefigures or echoes the second, famous one. The speeches on love that precede the entrance of Alcibiades, especially Socrates's speech—in which he discloses instructions on love given to him by Diotima—is the basis on which Socrates should be judged. Because the jury for this trial does not render a verdict, I assume the role of a juror. If I were a modern prospective juror, I might not pass voir dire; though, like Alcibiades, I have been a lover of Socrates, I have become disenchanted with him because I find no evidence that he examined his own life in the...



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