It is something like this: it asserts that Socrates does injustice by corrupting the young, and by not believing in the gods in whom the city believes, but in other daimonia
37 that are novel. The charge is of this sort
38 But let us examine each one of the parts of this charge. Now he asserts that I do injustice by corrupting the young. But I, men of Athens, assert that Meletus does injustice, in that he jests in a serious matter, easily bringing human beings to trial, pretending to be serious and concerned about things for which he never cared
39 at all. That this is so, I will try to display to you as well.
Now come here, Meletus, tell me: do you not regard it as most important how the youth will be the best possible?
[MELETUS] 40 I do.
[SOCRATES] Come now, tell these men, who makes them better? For it is clear that you know, since you care, at least. For since you have discovered the one who corrupts them, as you say, namely me, you are bringing me before these men and accusing me. But the one who makes them better—come, tell them and reveal to them who it is.
Do you see, Meletus, that you are silent and have nothing to say? And yet does it not seem to be shameful to you, and a sufficient proof of just what I say, that you have never cared? But tell, my good man, who makes them better?
[MELETUS] The laws.
[SOCRATES] But I am not asking this, best of men, but rather what human being is it who knows first of all this very thing, the laws?
[MELETUS1 These men, Socrates, the judges.
[SOCRATES] What are you saying, Meletus? Are these men here
able to educate the young, and do they make them better?
[MELETUS1 Very much so.
[SOCRATES] All of them, or some of them, and some not? [MELETUS] All of them.
[SOCRATES] Well said, by Hera,
41 and you speak of a great abundance of benefiters. What then? Do the listeners here make them better or not?
[MELETUS] These too.
[SOCRATES] And what about the Councilmen?
[MELETUSJ The Councilmen too.
[SOCRATES] Well, Meletus, then surely those in the Assembly, the Assemblymen, do not corrupt the youth? Or do all those too make them better?
[MELETUS] Those too.
[SOCRATES] Then all the Athenians, as it appears, make them noble and good except me, and I alone corrupt them. Is this what you are saying?
[MELETUS] I do say this, most vehemently.
[SOCRATES] You have charged me with great misfortune. Now answer me. Does it seem to you to be so also concerning horses?
That all human beings make them better, while one certain one is the corrupter? Or is it wholly opposite to this, that one certain one is able to make them better—or very few, those skilled with horses—while the many, if they ever associate with horses and use them, corrupt them? Is this not so, Meletus, both concerning horses, and all the other animals?
Of course it is, altogether so, whether you and Anytus deny or affirm it. For it would be a great happiness for the young if one alone corrupts them, while the others benefit them. But in fact, Meletus, you have sufficiently displayed that you never yet gave an thought to the young. And you are making your own lack of care plainly apparent, since you have cared nothing about the things for which you bring me in here.