Plato's Crito Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Plato's writing by emphasizing on the two characters namely, Crito and Socrates and the conversation between the two men. The paper reviews on how Socrates is able to convince Crito on his reasons and that evil shall never pay off. Throughout, the strong emphasis is on the abiding of ones principles no matter how tough the circumstances.

Man Is Not Always The Root Of All Evil

It is often said that man is the root of all evil and it is man alone who harms his fellow men by propagating evil by doing them wrong and inflicting injustice upon them. In The Crito, Plato has proven this concept wrong by introducing to the audience two characters namely, Crito and Socrates. The main reason behind The Crito is to display the character of Socrates, as a man of virtue and as a good citizen who has been unjustly condemned and in return has to face death. Even though many people would not choose the path which Socrates eventually chose for himself but the question which remains for many to answer is that, Even though Socrates was successful in standing up to his own principles but had he been right if he had chosen to escape prison?

Hence, The Crito is a historical writing written by Plato which is significant in a sense that it portrays a personality of a man who will endure and overbear all injustice but would not do any evil to the law; he stands up to his principles even though the offer proposed to him by his dear friend Crito is too tempting to resist. This above question asked reveals to the audience, whether Socrates was right to do in doing what he did. Several questions arise from this single question such as while abiding by the law, was Socrates right to turn his children into orphans? Was he fair with his dear friends by refusing their offer? Did Socrates ever value his friendship with Crito if he is willing to disgrace their reputation after his death? The answer to the first question will surely answer all these questions and will reveal to the reader the true intentions of Socrates.

Crito who is a beloved friend of Socrates cannot tolerate to see him as a prisoner who will face death in a day's time. He is however perplexed by the fact that even though Socrates is in a tough position, he still maintains a sense of calmness and cheeriness. Crito Says, "I have always thought you happy in the calmness of your temperament; but never did I see the like of the easy, cheerful way in which you bear this calamity" (The Last Days of Socrates: Euthyphro, The Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Plato). Crito offers Socrates his and other friends help and money to assist him in escaping from prison. Amazingly, Socrates refuses. There are many reasons why Crito offers his assistance and many reasons why Socrates refuses them. Crito believes that if he will not help Socrates than in the future others may accuse him as a person who did not opt to help a friend out of misery simply for his greed for money. Socrates attempts to dismiss this notion form Crito's mind by saying, "My dear Crito, should we care about the opinion of the many? Good men, and they are the only persons who are worth considering, will think of these things truly as they happened" (The Last Days of Socrates: Euthyphro, The Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Plato).

Before Socrates was imprisoned, he and Crito often had discussions on the evil committed by men. They believed that no man should entrust upon evil or return evil by evil. Socrates here questions Crito about his principle and advice him to always stick to what he believes in even if such circumstances are created which would tempt him to step down from them. Crito is a disinterested man who does not have the fear for death in his eyes, is liable to answer Socrates and his views. Socrates is a man of reasons who will not divert from them even if the situation he is in might cause him his own life. Socrates says, "I have before given: the principles which I have hitherto honored and revered I still honor, and unless we can find other and better principles on the instant, I am certain not to agree with you; no, not even if the power of the multitude could inflict many more imprisonments, confiscations, deaths, frightening us like children with hobgoblin terrors" (The Last Days of Socrates: Euthyphro, The Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Plato). Crito asks Socrates to change his mind and escape from prison and settle in some other city. Crito also questions Socrates motives and intentions about his children future. As their father he possesses no right to give them the title of orphans.

Socrates solves Crito's questions by asking him to imagine the law and government of Athens in interrogating him. The law can question Socrates by asking him, why does he seek to overturn them? If to this Socrates answers because the law has injured him then the law will surely ask him about the contract which he made with it long ago. It was the law, which nurtured and educated him when he was born into this world and because of these reasons Socrates has no right to strike the law through evil even if the law punishes him. Every citizen is to take punishment in silence. Socrates explains to Crito that he has no right to strike the law back because it has done him a lot of favors and if any citizen is unhappy with the working of the law than he may exercise his free will and move to another city.

Consider, Socrates, if this is true, that in your present attempt you are going to do us wrong. For, after having brought you into the world, and nurtured and educated you, and given you and every other citizen a share in every good that we had to give, we further proclaim and give the right to every Athenian, that if he does not like us when he has come of age and has seen the ways of the city, and made our acquaintance, he may go where he pleases and take his goods with him; and none of us laws will forbid him or interfere with him (The Last Days of Socrates: Euthyphro, The Apology, Crito,

Phaedo, Plato).

Socrates then explains to Crito that by violating his agreement with the law he would not only dishonor his name but also put his children and friends in danger. If Socrates considers escaping to neighboring cities such as Thebes or Megara, he would soon be viewed as enemy as both places have well ordered governments. If he considers escaping to Thessaley, where there is a law and order problem, his tale of the great escape would be told in a vulgar fashion, which would only bring disgrace to his name. As far as his children's future is concerned, Socrates argues that he will not be able to raise them well by taking them to Thessaley and depriving them from Athenian citizenship. Socrates asks Crito to answer him whether he would be raising his children well as runaways. Or if he leaves them behind, does he expect that they will be better taken care of by his friends because he is in Thessaly? Will not true friends care for them equally whether he is alive or dead? (Crito, Benjamin Jowett). Finally, Socrates not only convinces Crito to believe that justice comes first and then come the life of his children but also that he is right in his motives. He believes that it is better for him to depart…

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