Plato's Crito Analysis

Superior Essays
Morality, Justice, and Ethics in Plato’s Crito
Question Three
In Plato’s Crito, Socrates is adamant that staying in Athens and accepting his death sentence is the right thing to do. When imagining what I would do if I were in Socrates’ position now, I would like to say that I would do the same thing. I think most people would like to say that they would do the same thing, that they would stand by their beliefs and be willing to die for something they believe in. I honestly believe that I would be willing to die for the right cause. However, in this case, Socrates was of the belief that he was wrongly accused and that he did not commit the crimes of corrupting Athenian youth and not believing in the Greek deities. Regardless of the fact that
…show more content…
There is a significant difference between respecting the law as an important function of society and blindly following it without any conscious thought. It is of the utmost importance to consider rules and laws through a critical perspective. Throughout various societies and across different time periods, there have been a lot of laws that were unjust and disproportionately targeted one population in order to punish them, disenfranchise them, and disempower them. An issue prominent in American history, and one that is still a very important issue, is voter identification laws. In states across the country, a driver’s license, state-issued identification card, a military identification card, or a United States passport are required to vote at polling locations. First of all, these laws make it unnecessarily difficult for people to vote, even those who have the necessary identification. This makes it so that people who are less educated or who have less access to information are less likely to go vote, which also includes people living below the poverty line. Secondly, this law discriminates against people who are not American citizens. Regardless if those people and their families have lived in the United States for generations and will be directly impacted by the results of elections, they are still restricted from …show more content…
In the case of Socrates, if he truly wanted to do what was just, it would make the most sense to disregard the unjust laws. An example of fighting against unjust laws would be engaging in civil disobedience. Figures such as Mahatma Gandhi and Badshah Khan dedicated their lives to fighting against oppression and injustices in a nonviolent manner. Both Gandhi and Khan were willing to be imprisoned and even die for causes that they so strongly believed in. Aristotle once said that being a good man, or human, is not necessarily the same thing as being a good citizen (Burnet 29). Socrates placed a lot of importance on being a good human. In fact, that is what he was counting on for his time in the afterlife; that those who were to decide his fate would look kindly upon him and what he did in life. However, if his death was a function of an unjust law and if he could have done something to right the wrongs of that injustice, but he did not, what does that say about Socrates’ own morality and internal ethical system? There are times in life in which laws are unjust and it is the moral obligation of people to step in to make a change. If following a law violates a moral and ethical law, then breaking it is a necessity. Morality and legality are not synonymous, nor does one necessitate the

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a man, yet men fear it as if they knew that it is the greatest of evils. And surely it is the most blameworthy ignorance to believe that one knows what one does not know.” This is a quote from the Apology of Socrates. I understand we can not fear something that we do not know or understand, but also, isn't it allowed to fear the unknown? I do not agree with Socrates when he says we are not allowed to fear something that is unknown or something that we have no knowledge of. The only thing I agree with Socrates is when he talks about not knowing if death is good or evil.…

    • 458 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Socrates made up his mind that it was wrong for him to break out of prison. His reasoning was obviously clouded by his actions which made him feel guilty. By choosing to remain in Athens, cost him his life but positively led to the honor of his devotion to morality and truth. This essay justifies his decision to remain behind even though the penalty was death. Socrates wanted to show loyalty to the Nation.…

    • 545 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Socrates Trial Case Study

    • 1127 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Carl: Sam, would you say that Socrates' trial was not fair because he was not guilty of the sentenced crimes? Sam: Well it was an extreme denunciation for such petty accusations. Carl: Since we agree that Socrates was wronged, I think Socrates was stoically accepting unjust Laws. He didn’t try to convince the jury of his innocence. Do you think Socrates did right by staying and facing death, or should he have escaped?…

    • 1127 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    This justification is hard to believe for some readers considering that he argued against the existence of definite definitions of just and unjust and a professional in knowledge of all their features so profusely in “Euthyphro”. Additionally, by his demise, the world would be void of his philosophical contributions that he has convinced himself he should be remunerated for. Of itself, this outcome would be unjust. Socrates sustains this rationale, nevertheless. He gives “… that the really important thing is not to live but to live well”; also, “…to live well amounts to the same thing as to live honourably and justly” (Plato, 2003, p. 87).…

    • 1318 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    If he had not carried out his sentence, then justice would not have served. This would contradict his teachings and his actions. Even though Socrates opposed democracy, he went through with his punishment; death by poison. If he was really anti-democracy, he would have never agreed to a trial. “However, as opposed to Socrates the citizen who sometimes praises other regimes, ‘Socrates the philosopher desires democracy’.10 Indeed, within the discussion of the decline of the regimes Socrates is ‘actually engaged in a defense of democracy against its enemies the potential tyrants’, the timocratic Spartans.11” (Klonoski 11).…

    • 986 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In his mind, if there had been a more appropriate way to defend himself, Socrates’ daimon would have warned him away from the defense he employed. This type of thinking puts Socrates’ view of death into a unique perspective because he validates his assumption that death has to be a good thing, otherwise his daimon would have steered him a different direction. With the daimon’s assurance that he followed the right path, Socrates can safely assume that death is seen as a good thing’ either because he would have found peace in nothingness or he would have been able to continue his “mission” of bothering people in the afterlife (Plato). Although he was condemned, Socrates uses his daimon’s guidance to legitimize his actions in life because it endorsed a potential afterlife of similar actions. Choosing to emphasize this aspect near the end of the speech indicates an attempt to show the injustice of Socrates’ death because he was he was convicted in large part because of actions that the gods deemed…

    • 995 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    According to Glaucon, another student of Socrates, we are not. “ No one is willingly just; men will be just only if constrained.” (P.56-d) Glaucon challenges the principles of Justice. His explanation of justice is powerful because it holds some truth. When we shun evil away is for the fear of punishment. When we help others is for a hope of a reward.…

    • 703 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Along with wanting to do the right thing by the law; Socrates is also worried his ways of not following the rules will follow him into his next life when he faces the judges of the underworld (Plato, 94). In my opinion, Socrates was right to stay and take his punishment; even though he was not truly guilty, because in Socrates mind he is doing what is gods will for his life. It also showed how much Socrates is willing to follow the extent of the law because of his beliefs that to do an unjust act will only bring an injustice back to him in another form, hence he would rather do what is more right in the eyes of the law than in the opinion of the masses. Also, with Socrates philosophy he believed in the immortality of the soul, consequently he did not believe his execution was truly the end of himself and the arguments against his execution at this time would do no good unless thought to make a difference; which at this point it was too late to hope for the…

    • 1677 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Socrates states in the Apology, “To fear death … is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows what one does not know” (29a). Fearing death is a form of ignorance. Socrates demonstrates he is not afraid of death because he does not have all the information to base his opinion of death. In addition, Socrates does not fear death because he is excited for the fact that he may continue his search for truth by examining the souls of the dead. Death may be a blessing in disguise or a curse.…

    • 909 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    He knew, according to him, that he was condemned to death wrongly and yet he refused to escape because he felt it is his obligation as a citizen to obey the authority of the state. To him, a citizen can either persuade the state of what he believes in or obey what the state imposes of beliefs, as this is the agreement the citizen makes with the state. In view of our modern understanding of the nature of the relation between the citizen and the state, many of us today regard Socrates submission to the false accusation and eventual condemnation of the state as excessive and unjustified. Because to claim that some actions are justified not on their own merit but purely by their status in an agreement, is false. And for Socrates to accept that the risk of wrongful conviction is itself part of the agreement with the state is beyond the understanding of human rights…

    • 1548 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays