Socrates laid it down all, so to speak, his reasoned argument of his role in the advancement of knowledge among the youth of his time in his Apology, and his equally reasoned defense of the law in Crito. Now, it seems that in the midst of his deliberations in both apologies, Socrates made statements which appear to argue for both pro and con of the issue about whether subjecting one’s self to the law was the only absolute thing to do, or at certain times, it was proper to disobey the law.
Because it was typical of Socrates to argue scrupulously for what is the truth, it is not surprising to have questions popped in certain students’ mind about some issues. For example, in Crito, Socrates likened duty to the law of the land to the relationship of children to their parents. Since the citizens were raised and nurtured virtually by the state as, according to Socrates in Crito, the truth of the case with him (Stevenson, 2000). In the first place, it was the state who solemnized through a designated official the marriage of Socrates’ father and mother who begot him.
It was also through the educational system of the state that Socrates was reared and fed with knowledge which he now possesses. Because all these are basically true of Socrates, therefore, said the imaginary prosecutor, Socrates was a “child” and a “servant” of the state, and hence in this sense, must rightly obey what the state might require of him – or, as Socrates, almost in a form of a rhetorical question has suggested, change the city’s understanding of what it thinks as fair and right. Following the argumentation of this first allegory, Socrates seems to suggest the irrevocable nature of the state.
He seems to present in his argument the outright error of defying the laws as represented by the state. It seems to contend that it will never ever be – as illustrated by the analogy Socrates has used of parents and children – right nor fair to refuse to comply with the existing law in the land. Considering, on the other hand, the other analogy of Socrates in Crito, he seemed to be suggesting in it that there might be room for disobedience of the law in certain circumstances (Stevenson, 2000).
Aside from the metaphor of children to parents which Socrates used to describe the duties of the populace to the state, he also employed the similitude of entering into a contract with the state. To have been born, raised, and have grown receiving all of the goods offered in a certain place even in a passive disposition is tantamount to consenting to all its ways and procedures, and therefore, it is unacceptable for a citizen to rebel or refuse the state’s administration of its laws.
Automatically, the expectation of the state of such citizens (and rightly so) is that they would obey the legislated laws which currently are in force. Or else, residents of the state have the option of leaving the so-called state behind and move to another which they deem more appropriate for habitation, with more prudent laws and benefits more abundant for its populace.
In close scrutiny of all of the arguments posed in Apology and Crito, there appear no contradictions provided the reasonings are understood and followed to their necessary outcomes. Obedience to the law is a must. Disobedience has no room, as it should have been extinguished by the act of leaving the city of those who saw errors early on in their stay. Reference: Stevenson, Daniel C. (2000). The Internet Classics Archive. Accessed November 19, 2008 http://classics. mit. edu//Plato/crito. html