Crito Essay

1573 words - 6 pages


Socrates has been accused of corrupting the youth by Meletus and has been sentenced to death. He has thoroughly justified his own decision to obey the opinions of the majority and serve out the sentence that his own city has deemed appropriate for his crimes. At the beginning of this piece, Socrates has presented a period of questions and answers through dialogue with Crito. Throughout the dialogue Socrates is explaining his reasoning for not evading the government. Crito does not understand the madness of Socrates, and would like nothing more than to help his dear friend escape to freedom. "…I do not think that what you are doing is right, to give up your life when you can save it, and to hasten your fate as your enemies would hasten it, and indeed have hastened it in their wish to destroy you."(Crito p.48d)
Plato introduces several pivotal ideas through the dialogue between Crito and Socrates. The first being that a person must decide whether the society in which he lives has a just reasoning behind its’ own standards of right and wrong. The second being that a person must have pride in the life that he leads. In establishing basic questions of these two concepts, Socrates has precluded his own circumstance and attempted to prove to his companion Crito, that the choice that he has made is just. "…I am the kind of man who listens only to 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 seen to me much the same."(Crito p.48b)
The introduction of this work has also provided the concept that it is our society or majority that has dictated what is considered virtuous action. According to Socrates we have been given every opportunity to reject our society and renounce what it has stood for and against. "Not one of our laws raises any obstacle or forbids him, if he is not satisfied with us or the city, if one of you wants to go and live in a colony or wants to go anywhere else, and keep his property." (Crito p.54d) Socrates states that making a conscious choice or effort to remain under the influence of a society is an unconscious agreement with that society to live your life by its’ standards and virtues.
Socrates states after establishing his own agreement with his city’s virtues that he believes in the validity of the decision imposed upon himself. He states that his decision is justified by the fact that the laws and governing agents of the society must command a certain degree of respect. Any person who would unjustly disobey these laws creates a deliberate attempt to destroy them, as well as, the society that has imposed them. For example, "…However, that whoever of you remains when he sees how we conduct our trials and manage the city in other ways, has in fact come to an agreement with us to obey our instructions." (Crito p.54e)
If the decisions of the city’s governing agents are not thoroughly respected as just and...

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