In 399 BC Socrates was brought to trial in the city of Athens. In the Apology, Plato records Socrates trial. He was taken into custody with not accepting in the gods of the city and with entrapping the youth. As was the practice of the day, when the jury discovered him guilty, Socrates and his accusers pointed at what they thought to be an impartial sentence in light of his offense. Socrates accusers ordered the death penalty.
At the time of his condemnation there happened to be a holy celebration going on. Because no executions were admitted during such festivals Socrates had to wait till the festival was over for his sentence to be carried out. While he was waiting his friend and student Crito tried to persuade Socrates to run away from Athens and escape his sentence. Plato records their dialogue in his work entitled “Crito”. Socrates answers Crito’s debate with some points of his own, it is never legitimate to willingly do damage to oneself or to another, it is immoral to break your agreements and that the city is like a mother or mentor to all its citizens and that it should be honored and obeyed.
Socrates give credence to the fact that by fleeing the city he would be exhibiting that the judicial procedure of the city is vague and can be obeyed or transgressed as one chooses. Once the laws lose their meaning chaos follows. Socrates does not desire to see the city of Athens adversely affected or shattered in such a way. He also gives credence to the fact that by living in the city for so long and receiving its benefits he has entered into a kind of an contract with the city and thus is obliged to follow its regulations and decisions. At the end, Socrates feels that the city, in its role of parent to its citizens, must be respected and obeyed just as a parent would be obeyed. In conclusion, Socrates persuades Crito that staying is the right thing for him to do and by doing so he keeps his moral integrity. Socrates is of the opinion that moral integrity is more valuable than life itself.
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In the arguments that Socrates makes, what other people cogitate does not matter. The only convictions that should matter are the ones of the individuals that truly knows. The exactness alone merit to be the basis for decisions in regard to human action, so the only proper approach is to engage in the sort of cautious moral reasoning by means of which one may hope to divulge it. According to Socrates, the only notion that he is ready to reflect on would be that of the state. As in his words if you go forth, returning evil for evil, and injury for injury, we shall be angry with you while you live, and our brethren, the laws in the world below, will receive you as a foe; for they will know you have done your best to decapitate.
Socrates contention moves from one of a general moral determination to the honorability of his particular case. He primarily says it is always wrong to disregard the state, consequently, one ought never to defy the state. Since running away from the sentence handed down by the jury would be disregarding the state, Socrates chooses not to escape. Socrates chose to honor his pledge to veracity and uprightness, although it costs him his life. One of the primary arguments made by Socrates, is to never think of life and children first, and of justice afterwards, but of justice first.
Socrates furnishes a very persuasive argument of why he should not breakout from the Athenian prison. He states that if he does as Crito recommend and escapes, it will not be legitimate or true. In spite of the fact that his family and friends will be much happier if he escapes, he will not follow the fairness or moral code of the state in which he was born and raised. Socrates also gives the concept that if he were to escape, his family and friends would be glad for him, but their fellow citizens and their state in which they inhabit would not. The government and citizens of the state may take their anger of this unfairness out on the friends and family of Socrates.
Socrates held that it is invariably unjust to break an c of Athens, constitutes rebelliousness against the state. He debates that following the state is an exigency right up until death. He says that by not complying with the state that he was raised in is like not complying his parents that raised him. Socrates was a man who chose his responsibility to truth, righteousness and systematic view over life. He had a great pledge to his state, hence by disobeying it, he would be committing suicide in a sense. If Socrates had defied his state, he would never be allowed to enter it again, nor would any other allow him to live humbly. His arguments all over the whole dialogues were very powerful and made sense. Socrates looked out for his state, while Crito’s arguments were fixed on himself and how others would view him. Socrates conclusion to stay in the prison may have cost him his life, but redeemed the honorability and truth of Athens.
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