Socrates in the Apology and the Crito

Updated January 5, 2022

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Socrates in the Apology and the Crito essay

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There are many to provide the assertion that there really much differences stark differences are perceived in how the Apology and the Crito compare in Socrates judgment, showing how he carried the same base throughout both dialogues. In the Apology, Socrates in several passages in which advocated for adhering to the Athenian judicial system. While in Crito, Socrates provides a passion to follow and believe in Athenian the laws but not the government or bureaucracy controlling it. The Crito shows it is not Socrates intention to cause disruption towards anything, he just pleaded his own case and followed the rules of the court. Proving why Socrates through comparing both passages shows he is not as contradictory in his ways as some would perceive. Through cases and studies, there is much evidence to provide claims for both sides and further learn into the intentions of Socrates to respect the authority of Athens.

Socrates’ death in some ways was the result go his extreme obedience to Athenian statues and law and his philosophy to never willfully commit any crimes. On the contrary, many will argue that Socrates himself is practicing civil disobedience, similar to the ways Martin Luther King Jr. would act, grabbing attention to an unjust law that will be put forth for helping a cause. Compared to the Crito, the Apology seems to suggest that Socrates may be a supporter of civil disobedience. As in the Apology, we see Socrates express his declaration to defy the court order from stopping him from engaging in further public philosophizing. But actually, it is Socrates’ spirit as a philosopher that makes many misunderstand his actions as disobedient.

To practice civil disobedience, one must break an unjust law with an open attitude and knowingness of doing so, which is opposite of what Socrates’ argued during his trial in the Apology. The philosopher himself believed that he was actually doing good for the city of Athens by trying to make the youth less ignorant and bring on a different perspective to the people of Athens. In the Apology, the issues that are brought up by Socrates is not against the God’s or laws of Athens, but really the individuals who control the system. For instance, Socrates states “But I suspect it is not hard, men, to escape death, but it is much harder to escape villainy. For it runs faster than death” (39A-B, Plato).

Here Socrates speaks of the lack of fear he has towards the punishment he may receive, he ’d rather be honest and righteous compared to saving his life. This goes to show that the man is truthfully telling the court he had no intentions of breaking the laws if he is willing to put his life on the line to prove so. It was the pride that Socrates felt, not the intention to cause disruption to the city of Athens. As he likens himself as a gadfly that is to awaken the lazy horse that represents the Athenian State (30E Plato).

According to Socrates, without him, the city will drift into a deep sleep of ignorance and disregard to the truth. He figures while it may be annoying, it is necessary for the people of Athens to hear and listen to his advice. Socrates may be looked as arrogant or overly confident, but it is his honesty that proves to reflect the truest form of his beliefs. Such honesty portrayed throughout the Apology shows his intentions were to serve the city, not harm it.

When examining the Crito, it further supports the claim of his commitment to Athenian law and his intentions to follow the consequences of that law back in the Apology. One of the most important moment during the Crito was his refusal to escape and live in exile as Socrates argues, “And is a life worth living for us with that part of us corrupted that unjust action harms and just action benefits…” (47E Plato). He is speaking on how sometimes the actions we make cause harm, even if breaking a law that was unjust, himself going against that law undermines the agreement he has made with the city. He was born in the city of Athens, and with the city raising him and providing him with protection, it his responsibility to follow and respect the state for what it is.

By escaping into exile it is a form of revenge of wrongdoing to the city by breaking even more laws. If he were to act on the requests of his friends, he would end up going against his own intentions by damaging the city and the respect he has for it. Throughout the text, we see Socrates tirelessly convince Crito that following the law is a duty that every moral citizen must follow.

It is very interesting to examine the relationship that Socrates shares with Athens, somewhat as if his sole purpose is for the benefit of the city. To live in Athens, Socrates knows exactly was is expected of him, that everyone who is willing to live in Athens, that there is an agreement to follow what the law commands (52E Crito). Concluding to the fact that Socrates cannot escape, he must stay in Athens to obey his obligations as a citizen of Athens.

While some can support the claims of a contradictory approach Socrates takes in both the Apology and Crito, it is hard to argue that Socrates does not stand by the same stance he first started with. Both passages show that Socrates will always respect the nature and integrity of the laws that are in place. He diligently speaks on his behalf and argues that he did not intend to break any rules or corrupt any of the youth. When the ruling went against Socrates, he still held trust and agreement in the law of Athens. It can be said that Socrates pride and failure to agree to stop his philosophizing has ultimately ended to him receiving the death penalty, his true colors are presented when his integrity and duty to the city of Athens remains intact.

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