Socrates in Plato’s Works: Apology and Crito


Socrates is a Greek philosopher and teacher of a great Greek philosopher Plato. His works laid a basis for the Greek thespian art and he is a pioneer to the rise of official logical positivism. The Apology and Crito, which substantiates his tribulation, sentence, and denial to run away from jail are two of the most primitive and most philosophical interrogations in regards of law and justice. This paper portrays a critical appraisal of Plato’s confession by concentrating on the ethical limits of legal requirements that depict both Socrates’ opposition to national unfairness and his adoption of unjust judgments.

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The paper portrays this by positioning Socrates’ protagonist in the Apology into the passionate discussion and explanation of legal responsibility in the Crito, thus placing him a significant moment in the development of western legal ideas. The explanations by Socrates elicit some significant questions. For example, can stability between law and fairness be achieved without heavenly intervention or human interest to such rewards? If achieved, can stability be maintained before the unpleasant powers of world history, which continually intimidates its welfare? These questions are further analyzed in three distinct phases.

The Context of the Trial

To begin with, in 399 B.C., Socrates was accused of wickedness against the legal gods of Athens and for contaminating youth’s minds in hair-splitting ways. He was judged and sentenced by a panel of 500 judges who were his Athenian colleagues. To back up his justifications, Socrates shows respect for the Athenian Trial Council and expresses his denial to take part in the unlawful activity of 30 tyrants, by which he tries to show dedication to his way of life (Plato and Tredennick 54). In these two cases, Socrates demonstrates appropriate behavior. In an ultimate moment, somewhat puzzling, he illustrates his loyalty to the ethical life.

Socrates was promised a theoretical exoneration presented to him by the judges, provided he forsakes his philosophic ideas. However, Socrates claims to continue pursuing his divinely predestined task of searching, questioning, and undermining those who value themselves as wise. In the final analysis of this trial, the Apology is Socrates’ justification of his life; not merely his defense to the charges brought against him (Plato and Tredennick 59). It is a manifestation of his steadfast loyalty to a way of life where moral deeds provide sense to life; this is a presentation of an important background for Crito’s inquiry into the ethical correctness of his explanation.

Socrates was sentenced to capital punishment, which was deferred for almost 30 days awaiting for the comeback of the national galley from Delos. The Crito begins with Crito’s efforts to persuade Socrates to run away from jail to evade the awaiting menace of death and distress to his family. Socrates responds to these remarks by explaining that a choice to run away should not be based on the outcomes, but should instead be positioned in the justice of the selected action.

This response reveals that Socrates disregards the views of others and stresses the moral supremacy of the soul as the only power in issues of morality. The attitude of Socrates thus overrules any contemplation of the previous wickedness of Socrates’ sentence. What other persons have done or will do can never change the primary moral importance to observe justice. This maxim thus becomes the precedence of non-revenge; it is not fair to act improperly in spite of irritation (Plato and Tredennick 76).

The Contradictions of Law and Justice

At the end of the Crito, the author raises concerns regarding injustice or compliance to the law while the combination of acting and experiencing injustice saturate the whole Apology and Crito. These contradictions are reinforced by the obvious clash between the Crito’s commitment to follow the law and the Apology’s duty to violate the law. Together, these dialogues deal with the crucial pursuit for justice through the practices of self-observation and reflection that assist in spelling out an individual’s responsibilities, in addition to the consequences of injustice in a person’s life. The emphasis on obedience in the conversations underscores the significance of persuasion of Socrates’ ideas. Therefore, persuasion should be interpreted as objection aimed at ensuring legal transformation or as an individual’s rationalization, with no respect to its fundamental relation to an individual’s chosen path of moral activity (Plato andTredennick 96).

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Greek’s misfortune puts human beings in a domain that reveres their gods and the global relations that are maintained in the course of law and destiny. The prehistoric Greeks had no self-sufficient formation of constructive law because they interpreted law, ethics, and faith as one. For them, law had a godly foundation and contained a moral subject matter. Although the Apology and Crito underscore moral cornerstones of law and the active interaction of law and fairness, they have been interpreted as enforcing an unqualified responsibility to abide by constructive law originating from the Crito. Through their existing analysis, these discussions stand witness to a fundamental change in the comprehension of law since they mark the foundations of the division of law from morality.

Works Cited

Plato, H. T. and Hugh Tredennick. The Last Days of Socrates: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Phaedo. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 2003. Print.

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