Socrates in Apology and Crito

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“The irreverent, disobedient Socrates of the Apology is inconsistent with the Socrates of the Crito.” Construct an argument supporting or refuting this claim. Be sure to incorporate textual evidence. In Plato’s Apology, Socrates comes off as a defiant and disobedient man with little respect for his accusers and even for the jurors on whom his fate depends. This may seem in stark contrast with the stoic Socrates in Crito who would rather accept the death sentence than let his friend Crito help him escape from prison. However, this superficial inconsistency is in fact just different manifestations of Socrates’ conviction in upholding justice as the most important guiding principle of how to live his life. As a result, the perceived…show more content…
As arrogant and aggressive as he was in Apology, mocking his accusers (Meletus, Anytus, and Lycon), refusing to propose an emotional appeal in front of the jury, and suggesting that he should be treated like a “victor in the races at Olympia” with “free dining in the Prytaneum” (Apology 36d), he was very stoic and calm in Crito. Knowing that he will have to end his life the next day, he sleeps well, talks of his impending death without emotions, and patiently reasons with Crito why he will not attempt to escape from prison because it would be unjust to do so. This superficial inconsistency is in fact not an inconsistency at all. In both situations, Socrates’ defiance is directed towards injustice and death, which he does not deem important at all. Again, this goes back to his conviction of living justly. He views death as an unknown entity, hence not necessarily a wicked thing. After knowing that the death sentence is inevitable, he says “I suspect that this thing that has happened to me is a blessing, and we are quite mistaken in supposing death to be an evil” (Apology 40c). In Crito, he reasons that escaping death indeed would be the wicked thing: “in that place beyond when our brothers, the Laws of Hades, know that you have done your best to destroy even us (the Laws), they will not receive you with a kindly welcome” (Crito 54c). Socrates’ contradictory manners are the results of the same principles that
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