Socrates is one of the most colorful figures of the ancient Greek world, who the strangeness of private life has always been of special philosophical and political science. He was a convict to death because he does not believe in God and corrupted the youth people to do the same. In Plato`s dialogue Crito, Socrates spent his last time in prison. Crito is coming to save Socrates and have plans on how to make his escape. Socrates discussing with Crito should he escape from prison or not and gives arguments about why he needs to stay and waiting for his death.
Crito really wants to save his close friend but Socrates explains his wisdom thoughts: ” I am the kind of man who listens to nothing within me but the argument that on reflection seems best to me. I cannot, now that this fate has come upon me, discard the arguments I used; they seem to be much the same. I value and respect the same principles as before, and If we have no better arguments to bring up at this moment, be sure that I shall not agree with you “ (Crito, 46 b,c) - and take a decision – he does not want to be saved. Furthermore, Crito shows some of his arguments about why Socrates should escape.
First, If he dies he will leave his 3 children and family. Second, If Socrates dies, Crito will lose a close friend. Third, If Crito will not save him, this will be a big shame for his reputation. On the one hand, among his friends, because it will seems that Crito did not his best to save him. On the other hand among the people in Athens just because they expect it to happen and the opinion of the majority still matters. Therefore, If Crito will not save Socrates, the people will think that he does not want to do it and does not want to spend money on him. In this argument, Crito wants to make Socrates change his opinion and to go out of prison, because, all of his friends are ready to do everything for him:” We would be justified in running this risk to save you, and worse, if necessary”.
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Also, if he is dead he will never see his grown-up children and how they are doing well in life. Moreover, staying in the prison is the easiest thing, harder to reach is the courage which one man like Socrates needs to find in himself. In response to Crito, Socrates says his arguments about why he should stay. First, he believed that the opinion of the majority is not an important thing and Crito does not need to worry about it. Second, Socrates was a man who trusts in reason and Law, so for him, it is impossible to break the rules and to go out form prison, this will be unjustly among the Athenian state. He believed that he must stay in prison because for him “… the good life, the beautiful life, and the just life are the same”.
He believed that life has no value if his life is without morals. Third, Socrates cannot leave the prison because he believed that his loyalty to Athens would be an infringement if he escapes. In addition, with his escape, he thought that he would harm his own soul because breaking the rules and harming the city it is the same as harming the soul. He was made an argument to follow the Law and can not break it. Following this further, the most important thing is to live a moral and just life. However, Socrates' friends should save him, except that they will lose a good friend and he will leave alone 3 young children, but also because Socrates is contradictory in his opinions.
Generally, he said that the opinion of the majority it is not so important thing, but now he still thinking how an educated and wise person who value the rules and wisdom it will stand with the expert in right and wrong: “ We should not think so much of what the majority will say about us, but what he will say who understand justice and injustice, the one, that is, and the truth itself. On the one hand, he said that he believed in Athens Law and he will do it wrong and dishonesty if made his escape. In fact, he is sentenced to death because of corrupting the youth but actually he is innocent. So, where is the Law now? The Athens Law failed when sentenced an innocent man to death because this is against the principles of laws and rules. Additionally, nowhere it is written that Socrates has a contract with his state to follow the rules, and If he wants he can escape.
So If he breaks the law, it will not be a big risk for the state, because it is already incorrect. On the other hand, he said that injustice should not be rewarded with another injustice, because it leads to more evil. He mentioned that it is unjustly to escape from prison because this will be breaking the law, but the real meaning is Athens and wrongful death sentence against him, just because he is an innocent man and it is more unjustly to death for something which actually you have never done it. Can we say that Socrates believed in something insane and impossible? Definitely yes Because of this he will never understand the chance to escape and “So one must never do wrong “.
All in all, instead of his friends help, he did not leave the prison and just drink his cup with poison. In conclusion, Crito dialogue maybe teaches us that everybody has a point of view over life. Maybe Socrates wants to value the Law and for him this is right and death is a free will. He believed that the Law has given him the possibility to have a great life and without law, he will never be this person who is now. Nevertheless, Socrates still wrong for his friends. He needs to be saved and to live with his family, to protect them, to deny his unjust death, but every time some of them- his friends or Socrates will be wrong. But there is not more right way of a person who stands up for his truth.
- Crito in Plato Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo, trans. G. M. A Grebe (Hackett Publishing 2002), p. 48.
- Crito in Plato Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo, trans. G. M. A Grebe (Hackett Publishing 2002), p. 51.
- Crito in Plato Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo, trans. G. M. A Grebe (Hackett Publishing 2002), p. 50.
- Crito in Plato Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo, trans. G. M. A Grebe (Hackett Publishing 2002), p. 52.
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