Socrates' Moral Decision to Not Escape

Essay by angelbabeA-, September 2002

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Socrates' Moral Decision to Not Escape

Was Socrates wise to stay in Athens to die? First lets look at the context of the word wise, Socrates wasn't wise in the sense of preserving his own life as he stayed to die. He was encouraged and given the chance to escape by his friend Crito, but Socrates did not want to escape. Why?

Socrates was a wise man. He believed in absolutes, and pursed the knowledge of man's source of goodness and virtue. He believed that the repayment of evil with evil was wrong. In short, Socrates was a very moral person. He stayed in Athens because he said that he has lived by the laws of the country for his whole life, He had enjoyed the privileges of a civilized society, and that he had been treated as any other citizen would have come to expect. Now that the laws didn't suit him, was it fit for him to ignore them? Crito, hopeless, tries to dissuade him.

Socrates said in dialogue with Crito: " You must either persuade (your country) or obey its orders, and endure in silence whatever it instructs you to endure... leads you into was to be wounded or killed, you must obey" (Crito 51b). Socrates believed this argument for the following reasons. For one as a member of a society, each citizen had a responsibility and obligation to obey the laws of their society, because the society gave them an education and family, they owe obedience to that society. Finally, by remaining in that society and being aware of its laws the follow the laws based on what they thought about them, then most people would do what they wanted and claim they do not agree with a certain law.

Socrates compares the laws...