3/26, Plato’s Crito

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34 thoughts on “3/26, Plato’s Crito”

  1. In the reading Plato, Crito, Crito, and Plato go back and forth discussing whether or not Plato should make an attempt to escape his execution. At first, Crito makes convincing arguments as to why Plato should try to escape. For instance, he mentions his (Plato’s) children, arguing that if he allows himself to be killed then he is essentially abandoning them. If he were to die his children would become orphans and endure terrible fates. The two debates on whether or not escaping would be a righteous action. The two later acknowledged that escaping would essentially be a bad idea. Escaping his “justice” would have gone against everything he believed and stood up for therefore, he could not do it and preferred to await his death in jail. Personally, I would’ve taken the escape option.

    1. I agree, I definitely would have taken the escape option. Standing for what you believe is a great thing but justice sometimes is not always on your side. Socrates did not commit such a heinous crime in which he should of been executed.

    2. I would have taken the escape option too but Socrates was being selfish and was only thinking about the loyalty to the laws of the city where he grew up. He never taught about who was going to raised his kids which I consider being not fair to his kids. Socrates should of fought for what he believe and not just accept his fate of being execute

    3. I too, would’ve have taken the escape option. However, I do understand the reasoning behind his decision to stay. The central idea that It shouldn’t matter how other’s or a system may treat you, you can choose to rise above and react in a just and moral way is definitely commendable.

  2. In Plato’s book Crito, the character Socrates is serving his last days in prison before his execution. Crito is pleading him to let their wealthy friends plan an escape. Crito’s argument is that if Socrates died, his sons would be abandoned. He says that if someone decides to have children they should be responsible for their upbringing or they are lazy. Additionally, if Socrates died, people would talk about how useless and cowardly his friends were. Socrates responds that you should only pay attention to “good opinions” which refers to educated people. His other significant response is that by fleeing from his punishment, he is breaking his contract with the city. The city expects you to either persuade them to see they are wrong or suffer the punishment because you chose to live there. I agree with Crito’s reasoning that if someone chooses to have children, they should do everything in their power to take care of them. Or else they are lazy. On the other hand, Socrates’ explanation of a contract with the city is very interesting. I agree that if you choose to live in a city, then you are silently agreeing to live by that cities rules in return. However, I don’t agree that someone is a slave to their city and owes it more loyalty then their parents. The city did not give birth to you. We are certainly not slaves to a city just because we were brought up there.

    1. That is a concrete point about, “living in the city, and agreeing to live by the rules of the city”. Thus, it shows respect and reverence to that location one has chosen to situate in. Additionally I appreciate your point about ensuring that our loyalty to our parents is priority before a place. Good reasoning regarding the birth illustration.

      1. I agree with Tricia, maybe it was the insane man talking since he was locked up in a dark prison cell. For many hours and finally made up his mind that his death is inevitable there is no form of escaping it.

        1. This is a true point that I hadn’t thought of. He was locked in there for a while. However, I also don’t think it’s too “out of character” for him or a “far fetched” notion that this is his actual belief considering the kind of person he is.

    2. Faiza good point when you say “A city did not give birth to you” and I strongly agree with this. One should always set their own path once they have the knowledge and understanding that in life their are consequences to all action. With Socrates I believe his decision was to please the higher authorities and not anyone else. He believe that the society made him who he is and if they cast judgment against him whether rightfully or wrongfully it will be on their conscience in the end. I believe stayed to prevent his friends from being executed for aiding his escape.

  3. The argument that Socrates gives to Crito is a critical point in the passage, something that astonished me. When Crito entered Socrates cell he found him sleeping, thinking that he would find him with a troubled mind. Since he was going to be killed the next day, little did he know that Socrates accepted his fate. He explains to Crito, if he were to escape everything he believed would be put to waste, he wants to prove to everyone who lives in Athens that their form of government is limiting his voice for doing what is right in his eyes. Since Socrates is a citizen, he has the right to say whatever he believes in and the people can decide their own opinions.

    1. I agree with what you said about how the government in Athens limits his voice for doing what he deemed right because although he knows that he was going to get executed him trying to take fate into his own hands to prevent his execution from happening was going to go against everything Socrates believed in. He accepted what he stood for in life and didn’t try to go prevent what was in store for him.

  4. After reading this drawn out conversation between Cratio and Socates, discussing whether Socrates should take him up on the notion of escaping. Giving him countless reasons as to why he should. However, Socrates could not look past the agreement that he inevitably made with his city by the mere fact that he was born into it. Personally, Socrates’s view is skewed, he’s willing to die at the will of his city with no care to what that might do to his children and instead chose to argue “one man must neither repay an injustice nor harm to any man, no matter what one suffers because of him” (6). This statement alone shows that even he himself feels that what’s being done to him is an injustice but because he’s choosing to live by his morals he’s deciding that his and everyone else’s personal feelings does not compare. I can understand living by your morals, but when it comes to a point that it doesn’t outweigh what’s right ,that is the time where we need to take a step back.

    1. But then again we can’t tell the man or anyone for that matter what to think/believe, we just have to accept their decisions no matter how much we may disagree, even with valid points, but hey, that’s life.

    2. Socrates was convicted of crimes that the people of his state convicted him of, so escaping wouldn’t rest right on his mind since is a good citizen. I have to say, being a moble person adds pressure on you when you have to make a decision or right and wrong.

  5. After reading and listening (audio) to the dialogue between Crito and Socrates, it was clear that they were in a sovereign society. Being in a sovereign, does one have the freedom of thought? Do they have the ability to accept their fate of a just or unjust decision by their leader or should they have others who are not in authority to make the decision for them? Socrates is in prison and because of his status in society his friends believe that he was treated unjustly by legal system. They are willing to risk themselves for his freedom but helping him to escape and begin a different life. Socrates explain his friends that in a society that one was raised and provided for many one should uphold and face whatever consequences they encounter. Who can not disobey a system that taught you morals and showed you what principles are to be upheld?
    Socrates made this statement to Crito, page 6 line..Socrates to Crito “And so one should not repay an injustice with an injustice, as the many think, since one should never act unjustly. This statement to me seems fear especially if one is a law-abiding citizen and uphold the laws because of the consequences that might follow. Socrates in this statement to me is protecting his friends and family in this situation knowing that if he do listen to his friends and escape to Thessaly, his friends and kids will be punished worst that what he would endure if he remain when they find out what they did.
    It is a situation where even if injustice is serve on an innocent person its better to let the legal system take it cause than to get other innocent people involved.

  6. Socrates tries to never do any wrong , like a good citizen would do. Socrates does mention that he is aware that others may do the opposite of what he does but he chooses to not escape execution by rebutting off of Crito’s arguement. Socrates shows that he rather use his own reasoning instead of the opinions of others. By doing so the idea of justice and injustice is in conflict because socrates places value in the legal system of Athens. In other words if socrates were to escape he would only create more delinquency to his execution and defeat the purpose of reason. Specifically in his free will , despite what Crito tells him while in jail.

  7. After reading the dialogue between Socrates and Crito, it becomes clear to me that they are friends because of the personal stuff they were sharing between each other. Socrates even went to the lengths to help his friend escape prison. Even though Socrates came up with reason of why Crito should escape, Crito came up with two strong counter arguments. One being that Socrates is basically putting his life in danger and making enemies out of people that don’t need to be had. In my opinion this is true that Socrates is putting a target on his back while trying to be a true friend to Crito, but if he came to the prison with a carefully executed plan, he clearly has thought of the consequences of going through with the plan.

    1. Hi Desiree:

      It was not Crito who was in prisoned it was Socrates. And Crito was trying to convince or share with Socrates the plans he had to help him escape his fate of death. Base on stories that had been written about Socrates, by his students such as what we have read via Plato’s recorded record of the conversation in “Crito” as well as Aristotle’s accounts of “Socrates trial” Socrates had a large influence on the Greek youths of that time; Socrates was a great philosopher.

      Side note about Socrates: He has had a profound influence on Western philosophy, along with his students Plato and Aristotle –who later taught Alexander the Great.

      So, it was because of the fact that Socrates was outspoken that caused him to garner so much enemy and subsequently landed him in prison where he had taken his own life using hemlock.

  8. In my reading of Plato’s “Crito “of the recorded conversation between the two old friend Socrates and Crito; one can see the great respect that Crito had for his friendship with Socrates. However, this conversation between the two men showed much more than mere friendship; but a difference in class, wisdom and financial wealth as well as character. For Socrates standing alone in his belief was very important that standing with the “Many” who’s belief systems often goes along with the norm of doing the greatest evil.
    While, Crito intent was to free his friend Socrates and had a plan in which to do so. His plan would need Socrates’ involvement in his own freedom; but Crito also knew his friends’ moral stands and that he would not go along with the plan. Yet, Crito made an attempt to convince Socrates to go along with the plans for his freedom. But Socrates knows Crito very well and instead of Crito being successful in convincing Socrates, we find Socrates doing the convincing of Crito. In the line 44 (d) Socrates pointed how flawed Crito argument/logic was when he stated that the many would be able to do both the greatest good and the greatest evil but they can do neither but whatever occurs to them.
    I found that statement to be power and true today in our current society. Many of us have the same view and or logic as was express by Crito in line 45 (d)-(e) and there are only a few who would share the same view point as Socrates in line 46 (b) when Socrates spoke of being persuaded in his soul by the argument that was best based upon his self-reflection. For Crito it best to go with the many and live and for Socrates line 46 (c) “If we have nothing better than them to offer under the present circumstances, rest assured that I will not agree with you, not if, even more so than at present, the power of the multitude were to spook us as though we were children, imposing chains and deaths and monetary fine upon us.” This conversation I believe place “The Law of Justice, Morals and other Virtues” on trial.
    Line 53 (a) Shows Socrates’ wisdom and understanding of those who were in power and or were responsible for making laws or mete out justice. In line 53 (c) when he asked “Will you flee, then from well-governed cities and from the most civilized people? Here Socrates shows Crito the distinction between order and disorder when in line 53 (d) when he references the differences between staying the course that he had chosen verse going to Thessaly with Crito’s friends where there were plenty of disorder and disobedience.
    As Socrates continue his conversation with Crito in line 54 and he was left speechless and Socrates at peace with his decision “Then let it be, Crito and let us act in this way, since this is where the god leads us.” Here the Socrates elderly devoted friend continued to learn from him, that even in the face of death his ethnics was firm as ever. Many may have laughed at Socrates for being different, but I laugh at them because they’re all the same!

    1. A very detailed and careful post, Vania!
      A close reading is very helpful and important. If you have to choose, though, I’d prefer that you focus on your own thoughts/responses to the arguments, rather than a summary. At the end you mention agreeing with Socrates; what did you find convincing, specifically?

      1. What I found convincing professor was that even though he knew that they were wrong; he had great respect for the athenian government who had governance over him. He also, understood that concept who were the rulers and who were being ruled and respected the laws of the land because it presented state of being from higher authority “The Gods”.

  9. In Plato’s Crito there is a clear distinction of thoughts between the two prisoners, Socrates and Crito. Thus, Socrates is imprisoned and actually received the death penalty due to according to the authorities convincing young individuals to have a disregard towards religion. Now, when it really became interesting is when Socrates becomes the person that is receiving some convincing himself. For example, Crito suggested that an idea way to not face the death penalty was to escape from prison. For instance, he strives to sway him into thinking how others would feel if he didn’t attempt an approach and how would it look for a man to leave their children without a father. However, even though such a plan would be promising, Socrates values the fact that one’s actions should not be based on emotions but reasoning pertaining to logic. I think this is a powerful point and stance Socrates makes because when an individual lives their lives based on what others think or simply what’s pleasing to them, then they allow others to dictate for them what is right and wrong. Therefore, Socrates approach highlights the need to be in full control of what we are selves know to be right and wrong, and taking up such an approach will assist us to be in control.

  10. Socrates was a believer in the law. He believed so deeply in matters of law and how it saved civilization that he was willing to die for it when he was offered the chance to escape prison and go to Thessaly. This offer was made by Crito, Socrates’ lifelong friend. What was most impressive is how Socrates, despite being wrongfully convicted by the state, was so in love with the law that he convinced Crito that escaping would hurt the state. After all, Socrates credited the law with his existence. Socrates gives credit to the law and the state for his parent’s marriage, his birth and his education. Even where it concerned his quality of life Socrates credited the state and the law by saying that he was satisfied and stayed in Athens when he could have left at any time he wished. It seems me that Socrates was his own man. This is made apparent when he says to Crito, “why…care so much about the opinion of the many?” (Plato’s Crito, P.2,), “Shouldn’t we value the good opinions, and not the worthless ones?” (P. 4). Socrates did not want to offend the law or state by escaping his sentence.
    In his view, the only opinion that mattered was that of the law because the opinion of the law mattered. Socrates knew that if he ran, he would betray his views on virtue and everything else he believed in, including his belief in not retaliating when one was wronged. In the eyes of Socrates, running was immoral because although he was wrongfully sentenced to die, he did not believe in running from the law. Rather, Socrates believed in persuading the law or complying to what the law prescribed. The law gave him the choice of exile or death, Socrates chose death and was willing to comply with the law. This is because he was committed to his belief that enforced law, even when unjustly applied, is what makes a state strong.

      1. Thanks, Dr. MacDougall. I didn’t realize I was summarizing. I saw Soc’s point and it made sense to me. I compare to Paul in the new testament who was committed to speaking about the gospel and didn’t care about giving up his life for what he believed in, Soc’s gave his life for what he believed which I find admirable. I would have taken the option to escape, but, that’s because I’m a coward. Thank you for letting me know that it’s my opinion on the material that should be the focus of my posts.

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