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The dialogue between Crito and Socrates takes place in the classical style established by Socrates – the line of questions and answers based on initial principles of justice, prevalence of doing no evil and living a decent and fair life. Crito was trying to convince Socrates to flee from prison and to escape death. His main arguments were based on: the fact that Socrates’ friends will lose their honor since they had the possibility to save him and did not use it (and that the society won’t believe that Socrates refused to save his life), on the future well-being and education of Socrates’ children – stating that it would be unjust to make them orphans, and on the statement that choosing death was the easiest way out of the situation.
However, though Crito’s arguments seemed to be sound and morally justified, Socrates challenged his arguments. He stated that living for the sake of children and leading a life where basic principles were broken and distorted would not be good, neither for him, nor for children. The argument concerning honor of Crito’s friends was also easily rejected because indeed, their honor would be stained by their disobedience and helping Socrates to escape, and they could probably be “driven into exile and deprived of citizenship” (Plato, 360 B.C.).
Finally, Socrates stated that living life which was not decent and honorable was not worth living, and built a logical sequence tat clearly showed – there was no way for him to escape and to continue living a full life, preserving respect and dignity; and all variants of fleeing resulted in living only a vision of life. Moreover, Socrates did not want to live and to die as a breaker of moral laws but wanted to stay compliant with his moral principles and general principles of justice.
In my opinion, Socrates won this argument because he wouldn’t be able to live according to his own beliefs, and would have no sense of living then. However, for another person valuing the very fact of living more than decent living and own principles (for example, Crito) these arguments would not be essential to choose death over life.
Plato. (360 B.C.). Crito.