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Crito is a short but very important work of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. This work has the form of a dialogue, where the conversation has a place between Socrates and his wealthy friend Crito. The conversation is about the fairness and unfairness, as well as the appropriate response to injustice. Thus, we are going to discuss the conversation between Socrates and his friend and analyze its part as an example of the famous Socratic method of dialogue.
Observing the situation presented in Crito, it becomes understandable that Socrates was not as guilty in ‘corrupting the youth of Athens’ as he was ‘guilty’ in his desire to find and prove the truth to others. Socrates always ‘tried people’s patience’ and led them to confusion that showed their ignorance in matters in which they considered themselves to be competent. Young people, especially the sons of wealthy citizens, following the example of Socrates, was subjected to ‘test’ the senior and placed them in an awkward position. Naturally, those, who turned out to be a victim of this ‘test’, believed that Socrates is a person who ‘corrupts the youth of Athens’. As a result, Socrates has been convicted of various kinds of disobedience and absence of honor to the great Gods.
Being in a prison and waiting for the court decision, Socrates has understood why he was there and after the moment, when his friend Crito visited him in a prison and asked him to escape, he has chosen the death. It is important to pay our attention to the fact that Crito was strong in his reasoning but Socrates was stronger in his response to all arguments.
The dialogue between Crito and Socrates is considered to be a classic example of the Socratic method of dialogue, because Socrates defends his own determination to go ahead and die in his specific way, using his own method of questions and answers. Moreover, it has a place because Socrates thinks that injustice can not be the answer to the original injustice and refuses Crito’s offer to finance his escape from the prison. The main Crito’s arguments are based on the concept of injustice. Socrates, according to the Crito’s arguments, does not wanting to leave the prison, commits the same injustice as his enemies do. He neglects his family and makes his children orphans, and preaching a sort of virtue, he may not be so indifferent to own life and freedom. In addition, Crito is afraid of the fact that he and his friends will be accused of cowardice. Socrates in this dialogue, says plainly that he would talk only on the basis of reason and the breach of justice, which Socrates and Crito have always condemned, can not occur here (and nowhere at all) in any case; it is wrong to response to injustice in the same way and it is important to change the society by own example.
In conclusion, we have explored the Socratic method of dialogue and proved that both Socrates and Crito were right in their reasoning, but Socrates, being more professional in the art of conversation defended his position better than his friend Crito did it. It seems that there are no winners in the above described situation, and Socrates, as usual, engaging in conversation, has used examples from everyday life, which makes his thoughts particularly accessible to others.
Plato. Crito, 360 B.C.E.