Socrates's Loyalty To Athens Essay

1173 words - 5 pages

In “Crito,” Socrates’s loyalty to Athens is the determining principle that leads him to face the jury’s sentencing instead of taking the chance to escape from execution. But why is Socrates loyal to what he believes to be a corrupt society? While in his prison cell, Socrates’s loyalty to Athens is tested by his good friend, Crito. Crito puts forth the effort to provide Socrates with an argument as to why he should escape his death. Socrates makes a counter argument as to why he should stay and abide by his sentencing. Socrates poorly argues that he should abide by the sentencing of the Athenian jury because of his distaste for injustice, his happiness with Athens, and an agreement made at the voting age with the Law.
Socrates claims that just acts contribute to the health of the soul, while unjust acts contribute to the corruption of the soul (Plato 50). Injustice should never be committed since a life with a corrupted soul is not worth living (Plato 50). Therefore, you should never act with injustice, not even for revenge (Plato 52). Ethics should be obtained at all times. Once this is proven with Crito, Socrates brings attention to the Laws and Commonwealth of Athens. The Laws put forth arguments for the assertion that Socrates would be committing an injustice if he were to escape his sentencing. The first argument states that a citizen has an obligation to his or her state; this obligation should be stronger than that of a child’s obligation to his or her parent. Athens acts as a parent to its citizens by nurturing and educating them. Since the city of Athens has given Socrates many benefits, he feels as though he has an obligation to his city. Socrates does not want to reap the benefits, without providing his loyalty to Athens. These benefits help structure a happy and satisfied life for Socrates.
The second argument states that if a citizen demonstrates his satisfaction with the city, then it is in agreement that he or she abides by the city. If a citizen wants to leave and take his or her property, they can while at the same time ending the obligation to his or her city. But the citizen must abide by the Laws if satisfaction with the city is proven. The agreement between a citizen and the State would be deemed void if the citizen were obliged to go into it, fooled into it, or rushed into it (Plato 54-55). None of these apply to Socrates however. There is evidence that exhibits Socrates’s satisfaction with the laws and state: Socrates has rarely ever left Athens, he has had his children in Athens, and he could have chosen exile for his punishment instead of staying loyal. Therefore, if he were to effectively escape, injustice would be committed for his obligation to the Laws would be dishonored. Socrates made it clear that he had been very happy with his life in Athens until his trial. Due to this happiness, he felt that he owed it to Athens to live out his entire life there as a way of showing his gratitude. In contrast to most...

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