Reasons for Platos refusal to escape, and his respect for the law.

Crito is a is a dialogue that was documented by Plato who was a renown Greek philosopher. The conversation took place between Socrates and his long term friend, Crito who was very wealthy. The dialogue seems to address the issue of justice, injustice as well as the manner in which a person should act to prevent injustice. The setting of the dialogue is the prison cell where Socrates was being held. The main objective of the visit by Crito to the prison was to find a way and means of financing the escape of Socrates from the prison where he was being held as he was risking being killed. Socrates was an Athenian and he had been falsely accused by Meletus, a fellow country man that he was corrupting young people in Athens because of not believing in the God everybody in the city did. The dialogue entails a discussion to weigh the morality associated with escaping. Socrates attempts to consider the rules set by the state and the duty of a citizen within a given state. Crito had a strong feeling against this execution as he knew that Socrates was being accused on a false basis.

Crito had made arrangements to aid Socrates escape and also he along with other friends had organized an arrangement for him to be exiled. They felt that if Socrates was killed, that would show that his friends did nothing to help him. Crito engages Socrates in an argument by reasoning that it would not be fair for Socrates to help his enemies in managing to unjustly accuse him and lead to his death. Crito also argues that it would not be fair for Socrates children as they will be fatherless for no just reason. All these were in an attempt to convince Socrates to escape. Socrates cites the law as the reason why he is not opting to escape. Socrates equates disregarding the law to a child striking his parent. Socrates feels that he should find a way of convincing the law to let him free than breaking it by escaping from prison. He feels that an individual within a state has an obligation to abide by the laws of that land. He felt that for more than seventy years of his life he had always abided by and followed the rule of law and in no case was he prepared to depart from the Athenian law at that point in time.

Socrates felt that in any case if he had to break from the prison then he did not deserve to live in any other state as he considered himself to be an outlaw. He also felt that in the event that he died, the judgment upon him in the underworld would be harsh as he would be considered to have broken the laws of the land where he came from. Socrates felt that any law that had been authorized by the state had to b obeyed regardless of whether they were good for the individuals within the state. He expressed the opinion that by virtue of an individual being in a given state, he is bound by the social contract of the state to abide by its laws. In this dialogue, a distinction is drawn when we consider the legal system at that time. The system is unjust since it is trying to punish a man out of false allegations.

Socrates accusers and the legal system appear to be very unjust and as such it becomes very difficult to justify the refusal of Socrates to escape when he was well aware that the punishment was nothing less than execution. Socrates was a man who did not believe on the general belief of the people but instead relied on his own conscience and knowledge to determine if an action was moral or not. He believed in the idea of reasoning and not just following the masses. In this context, the very law Socrates had spent his life safeguarding and adhering to is the same one that dictates that he has to die for a mistake he did not commit. Generally, the masses were calling for his execution and they appear to be very different from this law. They feel that the law will treat them differently.

Crito and the residents of the state did not have any respect for the law yet they accuse Socrates for not having any regards for the law. Crito was very able and willing to finance the escape of a guilty person. This means that the law is selective in this context and does not seem to treat the rich and the poor alike. Crito is ready and willing to help his friend escape the legal system of the land, the same law they all say they respect so much. The idea that following the law would render the children of Socrates fatherless tries to imply that as long as one becomes a parent he can be exempted from certain legal matters. I really agree with Socrates on the basis of the reasons he gave for his actions. He has a sheer respect for the legal system and is prepared to die for the law. He does not want to be influenced by the ideas of the people, not even his very close friends.

Put in the shoes of Socrates, I would be in a sort of dilemma. With all due respect for the legal system and the rule of law, how do you face a punishment for a crime you did not commit This is worsened by the fact that the punishment in this context was execution. I respect Socrates decision but on a personal level I would not hesitate to escape. My reason for escaping is that there is no fruit for being killed for a legal system that is compromised. Where is the justice if an innocent man is supposed to be executed Money is able to salvage a convict sentenced to death Then what forms the basis of my respect for the law even to the point of death That is the reason why I will not be a victim of a compromised system.


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