'Few persons will be found to wish that Socrates should have defended himself otherwise,'--if, as we must add, his defence was that with which Plato has provided him.
According to Plato (compare Phaedo; Symp.), as well as Xenophon (Memor.), he was punctual in the performance of the least religious duties; and he must have believed in his own oracular sign, of which he seemed to have an internal witness.
The second question, whether Plato meant to represent Socrates as braving or irritating his judges, must also be answered in the negative.
the wisdom of Critias, the poem of Solon, the virtues of Charmides, they may have been due only to the imagination of Plato. The arguments of those who maintain that the Apology was composed during the process, resting on no evidence, do not require a serious refutation.
Also here, as in the Ion and Phaedrus, Plato appears to acknowledge an unreasoning element in the higher nature of man.
The idealism of Plato is here presented in a less developed form than in the Phaedo and Phaedrus.
Plato is silent about his treachery to the ten thousand Greeks, which Xenophon has recorded, as he is also silent about the crimes of Critias.
Perhaps Plato may have been desirous of showing that the accusation of Socrates was not to be attributed to badness or malevolence, but rather to a tendency in men's minds.
We are accustomed since the growth of the historical method to the belief that states are "not made but grow," and are apt to be impatient with the belief which Aristotle and Plato show in the powers of the lawgiver.
It is one of the most marked characteristics of Greek political theory that Plato and Aristotle think of the statesman as one who has knowledge of what ought to be done, and can help those who call him in to prescribe for them, rather than one who has power to control the forces of society.
Hence for Aristotle as for Plato, the natural state or the state as such is the ideal state, and the ideal state is the starting-point of political inquiry.
The existence of force is for Plato and Aristotle a sign not of the state but of the state's failure.