I am risking everything, because I obeyed the city’s laws. First, on the one hand, read the law. It is said, by the Court of the Areopagus itself, that whoever takes vengeance on an adulterer caught in the act with his spouse shall not be convicted of murder. The law acquits me.
I desired no other reward except vengeance according to the law. In fact, I did not agree to his estimate/bribe, as I held that our city’s law should have higher authority. And I told him, “It is not I who am going to kill you, but our city’s law, which you have transgressed, choosing rather to commit this foul offence than to obey the laws like a decent person.” Thus I obtained justice and he incurred the fate that the laws ordain for those who do such things.
If you convict me, you spare those who dishonor the wives of others, and trials are more dangerous to those wronged than to such men. No one is so disposed to think that such men should get a pardon, and all men think this outrage is the most terrible. I think you’re all of the same mind about the severity of the penalty. It is necessary that you pardon me.