Socrates' Crito Essay

The whole of the dialogue takes place at Socrates’ prison cell, where he awaits his execution just days away. It started with Socrates waking up and finding his friend and loyal disciple Crito there. When Socrates asked how Crito got inside the prison at that early an hour, Crito told him that he simply knows the guard and has done the guard some favor. Crito then informed Socrates that the ship from Delos has already come in and tomorrow will be his execution.

Socrates then told Crito about a dream he had, a woman on a white cloak saying that the ship will not be there till tomorrow thus his execution to be delayed for a day. Crito does not allow Socrates to elaborate the meaning of the dream rather; he told Socrates that he arrived that early hour to convince him to escape, that it would be very easy for him to break him out of prison, that a lot of friends already volunteered to help him financially, and that he will live a comfortable life even in hiding.

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Socrates rejected the offer although he much prefers to live, his reasons and principles do not allow him so. “ For I am Extremely Desirous to be persuaded by you, but not against my own better judgement. ” (Crito: 48e) Crito gave Socrates 3 arguments on why he should come with him and flee. First is that Socrates’ death will reflect badly on his friends–people will think they did nothing to try to save him even if they have the means to. “ That I should be thought to value money more than the life of a friend?

For the many will not be persuaded that I wanted you to escape, and that you refused” (Crito: 44c) Crito then wondered if Socrates was concerned if by trying to save him, he and his friends would lose everything if not a great part of their assets. Socrates confirmed that it was one of many reasons why he does not wish to flee. With that Crito replied that their resources were more than enough, and by no means a burden to account for his escape. Socrates answered Crito’s 1st argument by asking him “why should he care about the opinion of many?

Good men, and they are the only persons who are worth considering, will think of these things truly as they happened. ” (Crito: 44c) Socrates then cited an example of a gymnast and his trainer, asking Crito of whom should the gymnast follow in his regimen, his trainer, good and knowledgeable, or the many, ignorant and unwise. It also proves true as to other things such as justice, fairness and goodness. Therefore he says that it is more important to listen to one man who is wise and good, other than the many which are unwise and evil. But hen Crito then answered that although that might be true, the many still has the power to kill him, as his arrest was evidence. Socrates said that even though, that does not change the fact that it is still more honorable and better to have listened to the wise rather than the many that are unwise. I find there is something wrong about Socrates’ argument about the many. When Socrates said that the many can kill them, and actually, days after the dialogue the “many” will be killing him, he had placed another context to the “many” which he was talking about.

I believe that he argued by using it in two context. One is the many who will think badly of his friends when Socrates dies, and the second is the many who had him thrown into jail and sentenced him to death, as even Socrates recognized that it was one of the powers of the many. Although the “many” as a subject in context one and two are the same, I believe that they should not be put into one argument, or Socrates would be enticed to leave out of prison with Crito. For Plato said to listen to the “some” that are wise and good, the ones who sees it as it truly are.

If so, the some would see the instance in context one as plainly as it is, Crito offering Socrates to escape, and Socrates rejecting it, thus safeguarding the honor of Crito in the “some”’s eyes. But if we would put that condition in context 2, then it would be just fair for Socrates to escape the prison, for if he does not, he would be heeding the will of the “many” that are evil and unwise rather than the good and wise “some” who sees him as innocent, as he really is. For matters of convenience, I would talk first about the third argument of Crito.

For the second argument would take up a lot more part of the paper and would be it’s main argument. Secondly, the welfare of his children would be at risk, that they would have no father to grow up to, “no man should bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nurture and education. ” (Crito: 45d) Crito tried to persuade Socrates by telling him that without him, the future of his children is a whole lot dimmer, that they have to pass through the trials of being an orphan and he says that if they do, it would be of little thanks to him.

Socrates also answered this when he was representing the government or the society, “For he who is the corrupter of the laws is more than likely to be corrupter of the young and foolish portion of mankind. ” (Crito: 53c) Although this does not necessarily translate to his children, it can still be loosely connected to it, as how can one be a good father if he corrupts the mid of young men, more so his kids. Though this quote may find friction to the theory I said earlier that with loose virtues, one could still support the institution even if one goes through it, thereby disrespecting it in a way.

But as the word “likely” would suggest, there is the chance that one who corrupts a law not be a corrupter of men, and I stand by that suggestion. I find truth in this quote, that one who corrupts its laws would likely be a corrupter of men as well, thus unfit to raise a child. “And where will be your fine sentiments about justice and virtue then? Say that you wish to live for the sake of your children, that you may bring them up and educate them- will you take them into Thessaly and deprive them of Athenian citizenship? (Crito: 54a) This is the start of a whole paragraph, or a long line of Socrates rather, in the dialogue dedicated to the welfare of his children. That he say that it would not make any difference if Socrates is alive or dead, for even if Socrates escapes and hides at Thessaly, surely he would not deprive his children Athenian citizenship, more so, it’s education, then he would still not be with his children, and for that, his friends would take care of them.

It is not that his friends would not take care of his children if he’s dead, for if they are really friends to him, they surely will. Lastly, If Socrates does not flee; he would be aiding his enemies in wronging him, thus also being unjust himself. “Nor can I think that you are justified, Socrates, in betraying your won life when you might be saved; this is playing into the hands of your enemies and destroyers;” (Crito: 45c) But then, some of the points that Socrates made clear are the questions who are the enemies? nd “whether we shall do rightly either in escaping or in suffering others to aid in our escape and paying them in money and thanks, or whether we shan not do rightly” (Crito; 48d) Socrates then led Crito to the thought that we must not do wrong, and we should not do evil, thus, even if it was evil that threw Socrates to the prison, it is still not justified that he escapes, for if he does, it would do the society or the government, evil. “Then we ought not to retaliate or render evil for evil to anyone, whatever evil we may have suffered from him. ” (Crito: 49d) This nswers one question above and the other one in partial. That the enemies and destroyers that Crito were talking about are the Citizen, but as Socrates sees it, the citizen had nothing to do with it, it was the government that has done him evil, evil in his point of view, but for the government, they have done Socrates and the citizen an act of justice. In the pages after, Socrates portrayed his patriotism and represented the government or the society he belonged in. In this part of the paper, permit me to site relevant quotes from Socrates’ portrayal and discuss them in parts. Would you have any right to strike or revile or do any other evil to a father or to your master, if you had one, when you have been struck or reviled by him, or received some other evil at his hands? ” (Crito;51a) I find that this quotation can best represent how Socrates talks about the authority of the state over an individual. It says here, and I think it’s very radical, that the state can do anything to you, and you have no right to do to the state what it does to you, even if the state does you evil.

Just like your parents, if the state hits you or gives you a punishment, whatever it is, it is to be endured in silence. But it mellowed down a little on the last part of his 1st long dialogue portraying the state, by saying that although one must do anything the state provides him to do, that is only if does not see wrong in it, if he does, he is free to try and change the state’s view on what is just on whatever the issue one is pursuing. “Any of you who does not like us and the city, and who wants to go to a colony or to any other city, may go where he likes, and take his goods with him.

But he who has experience of the manner in which we order justice and administer the state, and still remains, has entered into an implied contract that he will do as we command him. ” (Crito: 51e) This quote explained that it was not a forced contract that Socrates entered in, that his whole life, for 70 years, he had the choice to leave the city, and its rules with it. Socrates understand that if he escapes now, it would be that he only entered the covenant which was made between him and the state for convenience, and none of the responsibility. That is was only for leisure and convenience that he entered the contract, which should never e the case. It is also stated that the state never abused its power nor was it bad specifically to Socrates, a proof of his satisfaction to the state was he even begat children to be nurtured and educated by the state. “Will you then flee from well-ordered cities and virtuous men? And is existence worth having on these terms? Or will you go to them without shame, and talk to them, Socrates? And what will you say to them? What you say here about virtue and justice and institutions and law being the best things among men? Would that be decent of you? Surely not. ” (Crito: 53c, 53d)

This now talks about how Socrates can never abandon his principles, that all his life, he talked about order and institution are what separates us from animals, and now, he is to abandon the institution which he then so believed in all of it’s glory. Yes, one must admit that the state sometimes err, not just on Socrates’ case but many more, let’s say that 96% of the time, the state’s laws helps the people in their everyday lives and do so by maintaining peace, by punishing those who does not abide by the state’s rules and direction is how the state maintain order.

Now the remaining 4% we can say is those cases like Socrates, those who were accused and even if not sinned, was punished. Would you say that the state is ineffective in bringing order and direction to the society? Would you say that because of the 4% the state should be abolished? Undermining the 96% that benefits from it. No. We could say that the 4% that the state does wrong on are necessary sacrifices which are needed still for the system to be effective.

That if Socrates, one of the 4% flees and the state does not use the full extent of it’s powers in capturing him, he does not only become a hypocrite by refusing to follow the very system he endorses, he would also promote that the 96% who really do wrong to follow him, pretending to be one of the 4%, which the state would’ve no way of knowing, because 100% of the prisoners of the state I bet, the state thinks really did err. But I was thinking, with lower virtues, one can support the institution, even if one violates it as how Socrates can violate the state by escaping.

For one can always say that what Socrates did was not violation but a correction, that you know that the system works and you also know that it is necessary for there to be sacrifices and that the system can never be fully efficient. You were chosen to be one of the sacrifices, but as you know, these sacrifices are like margin of errors, that the system would be in its best working at 96% efficiency, and the 4% would be an acceptable number of losses for the state. So maybe by escaping, you only correct some of the 4% error that the system has made, where Socrates actually belongs to.

That maybe, an innocent man escaping is actually doing the state a favor by lowering the margin of error, which can be actually the case here in Crito. And with Socrates having the resources to escape and him, also being innocent may fit the standards to which one can escape. But of course, this theory has a flaw. First, this theory would suspect that all prisoners are honest and truthful to themselves, that they can only escape if they are actually innocent, even if they do have the means to escape.

Another is if you value your virtue and principle as much as Socrates does, then you would not like to escape, for even if you are innocent and believe that you are helping the state by escaping, you are still going around the rules of the state thus violating the system, and with principles like Socrates, this would not push through. Bibliograpy: Plato. Plato: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito. 2 Revised ed. Alexandria, VA: Prentice Hall, 1987. Print. Jones, C. Emlyn. Plato: Crito (BCP Greek Texts). London: Duckworth Publishers, 2001. Print. Allen, R. E.  Socrates and Legal Obligation, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1980). Woozley, A. D. , Law and Obedience: The Arguments of Plato’s Crito, (London: Duckworth, 1979). Brickhouse, Thomas C. and Nicholas D. Smith, Plato’s Socrates (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994). Teloh, Henry, 1986, Socratic Education in Plato’s Early Dialogues, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. Ahbel-Rappe, Sara, and Rachana Kamtekar (eds. ), 2005, A Companion to Socrates, Oxford: Blackwell Publish “Socrates’ Argument, The Crito. ” Drury University, Springfield, Missouri. N. p. , n. d. Web. 10 Aug. 2010.


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