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Socrates Essay, Research Paper
Socrates arguments that it would be wrong to escape from prison is as follows. In Critos, Socrates explains to his friend Crito that escaping from prison would go against many of the thins that he (Socrates) believes in; seeking virtue, seeking the truth, not repaying an evil with another evil, obeying the laws of the state and so on. He has lived by, and has fought for these beliefs in his life. In part those are the reasons he is in prison. It is because he believes in those things that he will not escape. Even if it seems that he has been wronged. Socrates will not give up what he believes in order to live a few more years. He believes that living honorably and seeking virtue are the most important thins in life and life is not worth living if he must stop seeking the truth.
In the first argument Crito tries to convince Socrates to escape by telling him that, “The world will never believe that we were anxious to save you but that you yourself refused to escape.”(22-23 Johnson) He tries to tell Socrates that if he does not escape then people will blame his friends for not helping him escape. He also tells him that his friends will be hurt by his death and that by not escaping his enemies will majority of the people think. What they think does not matter, it is what the few that right. Socrates also tells him that if he does escape then everything what he has said and believed in the pas would be a lie and then he would be proving his enemies right. By not escaping he shows them that they are the ones who are doing wrong.
Another reason that Socrates gives for not wanting to escape from prison is that “….we ought never to do wrong at all.”(26 Johnson) Socrates reminded Crito of things that they had discussed in the past, one of which was wrongdoing. Socrates reminds him that one should never repay a wrong with a wrong. He says that even though it might be wrong for him to be sentence to death, he will not do something wrong in order to correct his situation. He says that escaping is wrong so he will not do it. This goes back to what he said earlier in the argument. He stated, “…..we should set the highest value no on living, but on living well.”(25 Johnson)
Socrates goes on to say that escape is also wrong because he would be disobeying the laws of the Athenian government by escaping from prison. And by disobeying the laws of the Athenian government he would also be disobeying God. He says that it is against the law of God to use violence against your father or mother; and that it is much worse to use violence against your country (27 Johnson). He explains how Athens gave him an education, marriage, protection, and so many other things. But now that Athens wants to enforce the law he is not willing to accept it. He tells Crito that we have to obey the law, if not there will be anarchy. He again reminded Crito of the things that they talked about in the past and asks him if all those things had been true. Crito finally agrees and he accepts Socrates fate.
I think that Socrates is just trying to make his life seem full filled. He wants to show that his life was not a waste of time and that his ideas on life were valid and correct.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would agree that it would be wrong for Socrates to escape from prison. The reason is, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. explains one of the four basic steps in nonviolent campaigns. He states, “one who breaks an unjust law must do so willingly so openly, lovingly, and willingness to accept the penalty.” (479, King) Dr. King like Socrates believed in laws and agreed that they are necessary to avoid anarchy. The difference between Dr. King and Socrates is that Socrates did not think that the laws were just or unjust he just believed that one should obey the laws of the country.
If I were in Socrates predicament I would have escaped. Dr. King pointed out that there are two kinds of laws, just and unjust laws. “a unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself… a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that is willing to follow itself” (King) Socrates just believes that we should just obey the laws no matter what.
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