Socrates argues in the Crito that he shouldn’t escape his death sentence because it isn’t just. Crito and friends can provide the ransom the warden demands. If not for himself, Socrates should escape for the sake of his friends, sons, and those who benefit from his teaching. Socrates and Crito’s argument proceeds from this point. There are many instances in Plato’s the Crito where Socrates gives reasons for himself to stay in Athens and face his death. Arguments range from that of him being too old to run, to the common response two wrongs don’t make a right.
Socrates expresses that he is obligated to obey the laws of his city by living there, which means you should obey your parents and the morals in which you were raised. Socrates was very guided by reason. In the stand Socrates takes, he argues that since he has lived in Athens all his life, he is required to stand his ground and take what’s thrown his way, even if that punishment is death. Socrates says “do you think you have the right to retaliation against your country and its laws? ” (Plato) Socrates was a master of words.
It is easy to say that his intellect allowed him to make anyone see all sides of an argument. Even Crito at times is confused about his decision to free his friend, thinking that he is making the right decision. Socrates continues, “or do you think it possible for a city not to be destroyed if the verdicts of its courts have no force but are nullified and set at naught by private individuals. “(Plato) Socrates’ words are very convincing, but what he is not thinking about is the fact that this whole predicament was not meant to be.
Socrates was supposed to be in all likelihood banished from Athens by the courts. Nobody suspected that Socrates would advocate for his own death. In regards to his situation, if he were to leave, the towns’ people would not have thought badly about his decision to keep his life. Perhaps if he had though about this, he would have been more willing to escape. Socrates held very strong beliefs about the relationship between law and morality. Socrates makes it clear about the reasons laws should be or not be followed.
He also clarifies his stand on why laws should be followed and why disobedience to the law is rarely justified. Socrates views humanity in the context that anybody is capable of wrongdoing. He continues with the elaboration that even returning an injury upon oneself is wrong. Socrates then makes a connection between the city and morality. If one is acting without the city’s allowance, one is doing wrong toward the city and it’s laws. Behaving wrongly towards the people is also doing wrong against the city.
The wrongdoing would become a way of destroying the cities laws, and hurting citizens in the process. Socrates compares this relationship to that of how a child should not cause harm to his parents. Causing harm to your father would lead to conviction; further illustrating the fact that wrong against the law is a wrong against everybody who abides by that law. Socrates follows this by examining what each citizen is taught. From birth you are told to obey laws. You were brought to life from your mother and father and thus you should respect and obey the rules that they do.
This thought is then extended to the city with the quote “One must obey the commands of one’s city and country, or persuade it as to the nature of justice. It is impious to bring violence to bear against your mother or father, it is much more so to use it against you country. ” (Crito) One should obey your parents, but more important is the city. Because the city was that which has taught your ancestors and your parents, it must be superior to them. The cities laws being superior to your mother or father should be respected and followed.
Socrates explains his thoughts of the city and its rules as the nature of life. We were welcomed into the world by the city so it is immoral to fight against it. The laws should be accepted and followed. But one should not obey a law just because it is a law. What is moral has been taught to us by our parents, and to them from the city. It is their opinion that will tell us if our actions are moral or not. However, one aspect of the city and its laws is that you are not forced to do as it dictates. As Socrates explains, you have two options, to obey the law or not.
But in regards to Socrates opinion, it is not another’s opinion to decide what is right and wrong for us. But just as children argue with their parents, one doesn’t have to do everything that he is told to. It is an immoral life to follow others opinions about morality. Socrates explained to Crito “For I am and always have been one of those natures who must be guided by reason, whatever the reason may be which upon reflection appears to me to be the best; and now that this fortune has come upon me, I cannot put away the reasons which I have before given.
” (Crito) Socrates has always used reason to decipher between wrong and right. In conclusion, if Socrates would have escaped he believed that his credibility would have been put in doubt by his followers and he would have to keep on running away for the rest of his life. Crito and friends’ attempts were valiant; they just tried too hard to save an ignorant soul. Socrates was just too stubborn to go elsewhere and would look death in the face without despair, in order to stay in Athens and make his point.
Crito and Socrates other followers wanted his escape because they believed his execution was unjust and they, and his children, would be deprived. Socrates explains that attempting to escape would only make things worse and it would be immoral. Instead, he chooses to die with dignity and be known for sticking to his principles. Works Cited: Plato, Crito, Trans. Benjamin Jowett. The Internet Classics Archive. Web Atomic. Web. 4 Feb. 2014 http://voices. yahoo. com/analysis-main-arguments-crito-plato-6490024. html.