Socrates in Apology and Crito

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“The irreverent, disobedient Socrates of the Apology is inconsistent with the Socrates of the Crito.” Construct an argument supporting or refuting this claim. Be sure to incorporate textual evidence. In Plato’s Apology, Socrates comes off as a defiant and disobedient man with little respect for his accusers and even for the jurors on whom his fate depends. This may seem in stark contrast with the stoic Socrates in Crito who would rather accept the death sentence than let his friend Crito help him escape from prison. However, this superficial inconsistency is in fact just different manifestations of Socrates’ conviction in upholding justice as the most important guiding principle of how to live his life. As a result, the perceived contradiction in the manner that Socrates carries himself in the 2 dialogues stems from the different contexts in which this belief applies. Socrates views justice as a set of rules to maintain a harmonious relationship between the people, the city, and the Gods. He strongly believes that one should never commit an unjust act, since he says that much, “In no circumstances must one do wrong” (Crito 49b). Socrates also thinks that it is unjust to violate the orders of one’s superiors, mortal or immortal, and the agreements that one made with others, “provided that they are just” (Crito 49e), i.e. for the harmonious relationship between people, the city, and the Gods. In Apology, he uses this to defend the way he leads his life. Because of what he was told by the oracle of Appolo at Delphi, he has been trying to find men wiser than he is and in the process becomes unpopular by pointing out that “the people with the greatest reputations were almost entirely deficient” (Apology 22a). This, according to Socrates, is just since he believes the oracle is the Gods’ way of showing men that “human wisdom has little or no value” (Apology 23a). He also believes that one must follow their convictions no matter what the price, even death. When...
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