Plato - Crito

After having been unjustly convicted of the bogus charges brought against him in that most infamous and influential of trials, Socrates was asked to propose a penalty for himself. Defying everyone's expectations (exile, paying a fine, delivering a public apology, etc.), Socrates claimed he should be rewarded with free room and board at the Prytaneum. This response upset the Athenians so much that an even greater number than those who had originally found him guilty decided the proper sentence should now be death.

In the Crito, and against all sorts of argumentsmoral, prudential, political, philosophicalurging him to escape this unjust punishment, thereby saving his own life and reputation, as well as his ability to continue to philosophize and to question everything under the sun, Socrates makes a powerful and unexpected plea for the need to obey the laws of the state, even when such a conviction is completely groundless and unfair. Deploying a powerful rhetorical device, as well as a number of ingenious arguments, Socrates leaves his friend Critowho really wants him to escapespeechless. A man of principle, Socrates could not bring himself to betray the rationality that was his essence.



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