Morality and Laws in The Trial and Death of Socrates
Upon reading Plato, The Trial and Death of Socrates, Socrates strongly held views on the relationship between morality and laws become apparent to the reader. Equally, Socrates makes clear why laws should be followed and why disobedience to the law is rarely justified.
Finally, he makes clear his views regarding civil disobedience.
Socrates’ view on morality is that anyone can do wrong. It is said that injuring someone in return for injury to oneself is wrong. He follows this with the connection between morality and the city. You do badly without the cities authorization; you are doing wrong towards the city and the laws. He felt if you are behaving against peoples mind and in this way, behaving against the city. It is a way of destroying the cities laws and so you are hurting citizens by doing so. An example of this is the general understanding that you shouldn’t hurt your father. If you do so than you are disrespecting laws within your city. Of course you will get convicted for this, and it doesn’t change the idea that you acted against the city.
Socrates follows by explaining what is taught to each citizen. You are told that you were born with certain laws. Your father and mother brought you to the world in which they live and thus you should respect and obey by their rules. The laws were already there. That means, that your mother and father are as important as the city and you should respect the city as so.
Socrates describes the city and its laws more preciously. You don’t have the same rights as your parents. They educated you and thought you the rules in the city that you should follow. They taught you which behavior is right and which is wrong. It is immoral to treat your parents the way they treat you. You don’t have the rights to treat your parents the same way they treat you. That means that parents have a higher position in life than their children. It doesn’t really matter what they did to them. It is not moral to return the same behavior.
He follows with the relationship of a person to the city. He says, “One must obey the commands of one’s city and country, or persuade it as to the nature of justice. It is impious to bring violence to bear against your mother or father, it is much more so to use it against your country.” (Crito 51c)
One should not only obey their father and mother, but more important the city. The city stands equal if not above the parents. We should understand that because the city was there before ones parents were born. Everyone has his or her ancestors who have a higher standard in life. However the city was there before them and so should be respected and laws should be followed.
Socrates explains his theory of the city and its rules as the nature of ones life. It is not moral to fight against it. We were welcomed to live in it and accept it how it is.
A very important aspect of the city and its rules is that one is not forced to do as it...