Crito Essay, Research Paper
SocratesSocrates has thoroughly justified his own decision to obey the opinions of the majority andserve out the sentence that his own city has deemed appropriate for his crimes. At the beginningof this piece, Socrates has presented a period of questions and answers through dialogue withCrito. Throughout the dialogue Socrates is explaining his reasoning for not running from thegovernment. Crito does not understand the madness of Socrates, Crito will do whatever it takesto help his friend to flee, instead of being exiled by the government. AI do not think that whatyou are doing is right, to give up your life when you can save it, and to hasten your fate as yourenemies would hasten it, and indeed have hastened it in their wish to destroy you.@(Crito p.58c) Throughout the begining of the dialog, Crito is expressing his feelings of why he believesSocrates should flee from the city. Crito makes many valid points on why he disagrees withSocrates decision to bare this misfortune. Crito offers to do on not fleeingbeing majorintsexpressing to Socrates, that a man as courageous as Socrates and who has lived his life throughvirtue . AYou seem to me to choose the easiest path, whereas one should choose the path a goodand courageous man would choose, particularly when one claims throughout one=s life to carefor virtue.@(Crito p.59d) Through the dialogue the questions and answers within Socrates andCrito establish to major themes in which hold true throughout the work. The first being that aperson must decide whether the society in which one lives has a just reasoning behind it=s ownstandards of right and wrong. The second being, that a person must have pride in the life that heor she leads. In establishing basic questions of these two concepts, Socrates has precluded hisown circumstance and attempted to prove to his companion Crito, that the choice that he hasmade is just. AI am the kind of man who listens only to the argument that on reflection seems bestto me. I cannot, now that this fate has come upon me, discard the arguments I used; they seen tome much the same.@(Crito p.59b) The introduction of this work has also provided the conceptthat it is our society or majority that has dictated what is considered virtuous action. According toSocrates we have been given every opportunity to reject our society and renounce what it hasstood for and against. ANot one of our laws raises any obstacle or forbids him, if he is notsatisfied with us or the city, if one of you wants to go and live in a colony or wants to goanywhere else, and keep his property.@ (Crito p.63d) Socrates states; that making a consciouschoice or effort to remain under the influence of a society is an unconscious agreement with thatsociety to live your life by it=s standards and virtues. Socrates states after establishing his own agreement with his city=s virtues that hebelieves in the validity of the decision imposed upon himself. He states that his decision isjustified by the fact that the laws and governing agents of the society must command a certaindegree of respect. Any person who would unjustly disobey these laws creates a deliberate attemptto destroy them, as well as, the society which has imposed them. For example; AHowever, thatwhoever of you remains when he sees how we conduct our trials and manage the city in otherways, has in fact come to an agreement with us to obey our instructions.@ (Crito p.63e) If thedecisions of the city=s governing agents are not thoroughly respected as just and cohesive partsof society, the very structure by which the society stands is subject to collapse. If a person isfound to be in violation of what his or her society stands for and does not accept theconsequences for his or her actions, then there can not be a system of law in place to create order.A You must either persuade it or obey its orders, and endure in silence whatever it instructs youto endure, whether blows or bonds, and if it leads you into war or be wounded or killed you mustobey.@(Crito p.63b) The society in which a person lives creates a mutual relationship in whichevery person in that society is indebted to, if he or she willingly accepts that society for their own. Following along these basic concepts, Socrates then adapts them to his own circumstancesCrito, his companion , has presented to Socrates . The option to escape from his captors andrenounce their decision on his fate. Socrates view in Crito=s suggestion to escape is one inwhich Crito begins to understand. Socrates suggests. AI mean the majority of men. For us,however, since our argument leads to this, the only valid consideration is whether we should beacting rightly in giving with the escape, or whether in truth we shall do wrong in doing all this.@(Crito p.61c) Socrates has concluded that if he were to follow Crito=s advice he would becommitting several wrong actions against a society in which he calls his own. The first of thesebeing his own forebears. To disobey your own society, according to Socrates, is to betray what you were taught to
be right by the virtues of your own parents. And what they held to be true, your fore fathersbrought you into a society that they believed to be profound and just. AIs your wisdom such asnot to realize that your country is to be honored more then your mother, your father, and all yourancestors, that is more to be revered and more sacred, and that it counts for more among the godsand sensible men, that you must worship it, yield to it and placate it=s anger@.(Crito p.63b) Torenounce these virtues would be a disgrace. ADo you think you have the right to retaliationagainst your country and it=s law? That if we undertake to destroy you and think it right to do soyou can undertake to destroy us@(Critop. p.63b), you who truly cares for virtue. This would bea disgrace against your own families legacy and the dreams that they hold for you, and yourfuture. Society, in the day of Socrates has only requested for two things in return for thefulfillment and prophesizing of morally correct virtue The choice has been made very clear, toeither persuade society that it has acted unjustly, or to do as society has asked without hindranceor complaint. The person who has disobeyed according to Socrates has done neither one. @Wesay that the one who disobeys does wrong in three ways, first, because in us he disobeys hisparents, also those who brought him up, and in spite of his agreement, he neither obeys us nor, ifwe do something wrong does he try to persuade us to do better@. (Crito p.63e) This person onlyserves to justify their own decisions, actions, and foregoes the utterances of those who gave themthe life they have renounced. Socrates then states that by remaining a member of your society, you have in fact acceptedthe society as your own. He uses himself as the only example and states that by living in his owncity and choosing that city to raise a family. Socrates states, ADid you choose us and agree to bea citizen under us. Also, you have had children in this city, thus showing that it was congenial toyou. Then your trial you could have assessed your penalty at exile if you wished, and you are nowattempting to do against the cit=s wishes what you could have done with her consent. He has infact been satisfied by the same values that his city has held dear. To disobey his society in itsdecision against himself would be to renounce what his city has accomplished both for himself andits other residents. Socrates needs and must hold his head up with pride in knowing that he wasnot hypocritical in his decision. The agreement that he made within his city to obey the laws tolive as a good citizen makes the thought of exile shameful and therefore unacceptable. ANot beingsentenced to death, and fleeing , Awill also strengthen the conviction of the jury that they passedthe right sentence on you, for anyone who destroys the laws could easily be thought to corruptthe young and the ignorant.@ 64)Upon establishing the basic concept of right and wrong at the introduction to the pieceSocrates has created an argument that he can not consider to be unjust. Running away from thedecision that his own society has made would be an affirmation of his own guilt in the of hisfamily and peers. Even though he may have been wrongly imprisoned and sentenced to death, heholds very little value in the belief that two wrongs can achieve a justifiable pardon in society Hehas firmly stood before his own value system and society=s beliefs, and has presented his ownopinions on how he believes has been right in his actions, These affirmations of his ownconviction to a law abiding community have led him to an unshaking belief that to ruin all of thework that he has accomplished. He would consequently made himself a traitor and guilty in allprolonging eyes. Socrates has very carefully and thoughtfully consented to what his own city has deemed tobe righteous and justified. His thoughts on his destiny are completely unselfish, as his only wish isto preserve the society around him which has accepted him and his family for so many years. Hehas indignantly renounced the idea of self preservation and any attempt to escape because of thepotential harm and damage that it ultimately will cause. The disgrace of thought as he beingguilty would force all that he has forged to hide in exile from the wrath of the society which hehas protected. Socrates has succeeded in justifying his actions by showing how devastating hisdisobedience could possibly be. In considering all of the points that he has made in the defense ofhis decision. Socrates can maintain his own pride, and sense of right and wrong. He has shownothers, such as Crito . There is a certain satisfaction in maintaining ones own innocence while notaccepting a hollow victory for one may possibly last for many society=s yet to come. By maintaining a harmony between what is right and the expression of a persons ownopinions he has made possible the ultimate truth, the belief in what has worked and staying withinthe boundaries of decent and god fearing society. The laws of the society in which Socrates livedcondemned him to die for his own conviction and the reasons for Socrates to remain and acceptthe punishments of that society have proved to be wise and justified.