Apologia is a formal act associated with self-defense or self-justification. It is generally in the form of a personalized discourse. A convincing defense of one's character or ethics is a central concern of the apologist and has been an important rhetorical ritual of past as well as contemporary society. Many scholars have argued that the successful or unsuccessful use of apologia can even alter the course of history.

Although the circumstances and outcomes of apologia vary greatly, its traditional form has not significantly deviated since its use by the ancients. First, a statement of the case at hand is given. Then, a refutation of the charges is advanced. Next, an explanation unfolds—particularly stressing the speaker's character. Finally, a conclusion is given bolstering the apologist's integrity.

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