Socrates’ Arguments for Fulfilling His Death Sentence
Examine Socrates’ argument for why he should not flee prison but should instead remain and accept his punishment.
Visiting Socrates in his cell, Crito makes three primary arguments to try to convince Socrates to escape his death penalty. He makes emotional appeals by bringing up potential losses in reputation for Socrates’ friends, the loss of a father to his sons, and also assured Socrates that money for bribes isn’t a problem and that many are willing to use their resources to secure Socrates’ escape (Crito, 45d-e). To this, Socrates responds that only the thoughtless men care about such particulars and that they must instead consider if they are doing right by escaping the death penalty (Crito, 48c-d). Crito then offers the argument that it wouldn’t be right to punish oneself from the unjust verdict of the jury and to give up life when one has an opportunity to preserve it (Crito, 45c). Socrates counters by saying that one should return injustice with injustice as that also hurts the self (Crito, 49b-d). Then, Socrates says that since he has entered into an agreement with the state by remaining within its boundaries and enjoying the benefits afforded to its citizens, he shouldn’t break out of it just when it no longer serves him as it would be unjust to break off an agreement and disobey the Laws (Crito, 51d-53a) and because the Laws promote order and by breaking them, Socrates would go against his principles by indirectly promoting lawlessness and chaos which would mean that he would be guilty to committing the crimes the jury had charged him with (Crito, 49a-e & Crito, 53b-e). Crito concedes all his points and at this point, he has no further arguments to offer and so, Socrates remains to await his death.