Socrates was brought to trial as a result of his teachings
and his outspokenness. He defended himself courageously saying
that he had to speak the truth as this is what is essential in the
correct conduct of one's life He told the jurors that correct action
involves thought, and therefore virtue can be taught. To him knowledge
was correct action.
The jury found him guilty of several charges, such as
corruption of the youth etc, and sentenced him to death by drinking
poison. He drank the poison calmly and heroically overlooked by
many of his followers, never reneging upon his beliefs.
In his philosophy Socrates rejected the relativism of the Sophists and the
belief that it is impossible to arrive at what is right and wrong. He
agreed with the Sophists that distinctions do exist in customs between any
two cities. He argued that the animal world cannot be used in
comparison to humans. The essential problem with mankind in his eyes
was the ignorance and lack of insight into the nature of good and evil.