Recounting The Last Days Of Socrates In Crito

1386 words - 6 pages

Recounting the Last Days of Socrates in Crito

In the Last Days of Socrates the dialogue “Crito” recounts Socrates last days before his execution. Socrates had been accused of corrupting the youth and not worshipping the Gods of the state. During his trial he denied all accusations and attempted to defend himself by proving his innocence using reason . He was judged to be guilty and given a death sentence. His long time friend Crito proposes to Socrates a plan to escape from his death sentence in prison. Crito and Socrates argue the issue of escape with Socrates deciding on accepting his sentence. I feel that in light of his beliefs Socrates was ethically correct in refusing to escape from prison. It was important to Socrates that he have good reasons not only to motivate but also to justify his actions. Socrates was concerned that his actions not only be good, but be just and noble as well. He accepts that the verdict must be carried out, even if it was not reached correctly because by accepting the laws of Athens he has obligated himself to accept the verdict even if it is unjust. Crito argued in favor of escape. He is concerned with the reputations of both Socrates and his associates. Crito also feel life in itself is of absolute value. He uses these points in favor of his argument: Escape was easy to manage and would not put his friends in danger. If he refused Socrates friends’ reputations would be tarnished for not aiding their friend . To refuse would be a shameful display of cowardice. Socrates would be neglecting his duties to his wife and children. Escape would allow Socrates to continue to philosophize elsewhere. Socrates does not agree with these points, rather he rejects the proposal because to escape is neither just nor is it good for him. It is not to his benefit to escape, because to commit a wrong action would not be living well. Socrates tries to use reason rather than emotion and the opinions and values of others to determine whether an action is right or wrong. Socrates notes that some opinion is right and some is wrong, it is better to respect the opinion of the expert few than that of the popular majority. “ My dear Crito, why should we pay so much attention to what ‘most people’ think? The most sensible people. who have more claim to be considered, will believe that things have been done exactly as they have.” 44c The opinion of the many cannot do the greatest harm to an individual ( make him unjust ) and so it follows they cannot do the greatest good either ( make him just). Life would not be worth living with an unhealthy body, it would be even worse with an unhealthy (unjust) soul. Life in itself is not of great value, but living a good life is. To Socrates a good life is one lived in just and moral manner. “ I should like you to consider whether we still agree on this point: that the really important thing is not to live, but to live well. ...to live well amounts to the same thing as to live honorably and justly”...

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