Socrates In The Apology And The Crito

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The Consistency of Socrates In the books the Apology and the Crito, Socrates leaps back and forth pertaining the issue of whether or not laws should always be abided by. A tension has formed from readers questioning Socrates indecisiveness on the matter. This tension created can help be brought to rest after closely reviewing what Socrates is really saying. Throughout the texts, he makes a firm claim that it is important to accept the consequences dealt by the laws when perceived as disobeyed. But also that it is of equal importance to justify one’s actions when thought of doing nothing wrong. Socrates gives the perfect example of this in the Crito, when stating “in war and in law courts, and everywhere else, do whatever your city or father land commands or else persuade it as to what is really just”(51b-c). Socrates addresses both the importance of law and self morality here. It is very important to follow the laws set in place, in fear that people need order. But all laws are made by man, and are therefore not perfect. This is reason to give people the ability to justify one’s actions if not in accordance directly with the law. In the Apology, Socrates sticks to his argument further when claiming “You see, that government, powerful though is was, didn’t frighten me into unjust action: when we came out of the Tholus, the other four went to Salamis and arrested Leon, whereas I left and went home. I might have died for that if the government hadn’t fallen shortly afterward” (32d). There is no stiffer penalty than the penalty of death. And this is surely what Socrates would have faced if the government had not been overtaken. But he was content with the outcome of dying due to the fact that he felt what the law was asking of him was unjust. Crito makes a failed attempt to get
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