Plato's Crito

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By Plato

Plato's Crito takes place after Socrates is condemned to death and sitting in his jail cell. Crito is Socrates' good friend and has come to visit Socrates in the hopes of convincing his old friend to escape. But Socrates logically refutes Crito's argument.

Crito begins his argument by bringing bad news to Socrates, relating to him that the ship from Delos is approaching and, with it, the hour of his mandated death. Socrates seems resigned to his fated death, but Crito attempts to persuade him to allow his friends to help him escape prison and flee Athens. Crito fears that others will begin to criticize Socrates' disciples for not rescuing their great leader. But Socrates says that, like he has said so many times before, the popular opinion of others does not concern him, only with that of the Gods does he concern himself. He advises his friend to do the same. Crito then, in response to this, says that Socrates must escape in order to ensure that their father properly educate his sons. Socrates goes on to argue that the advice of one individual, namely God, should be heeded much more than the advice of countless ignorant people, namely Athens' as a whole. In this way, he proves to Crito that popular opinion is irrelevant.

Socrates also makes the point that it is better to do right than wrong, no matter what the circumstances. He felt that, although the jurors wronged him by unjustly condemning him, it would still be wrong to violate the laws by escaping. He goes on to say that he does not believe in consciously doing wrong to others as a means of retaliation and that it would indeed undermine his whole life's work. Socrates does not blame the laws which sentenced him, but the people. He goes on to tell Crito that the law has already given him a long and successful life. He explains that he actually owes the city much for his life. He believes that he has a contract with Athens, which would be broken, if he dodged his death. It was...
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