What is the purpose of the ‘speech of the laws’, in Plato’s Crito? How is it related to Crito’s political opinions and preferences as expressed in this dialogue?

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Patrick McKeon
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Amos Edelheit
What is the purpose of the ‘speech of the laws’, in Plato’s Crito? How is it related to Crito’s political opinions and preferences as expressed in this dialogue?
Introduction
In the following essay I will be discussing the purpose of the speech of laws in Plato’s Crito. I will also be discussing its relation to Crito’s political opinions and preferences as expressed in the dialogue. I will be focussing on the purpose of the speech of laws. In my discussion on their purpose I will be explaining the relevant sections of the dialogue before explaining the purpose of the law’s arguments in these sections.
The Effect of the Laws on the Escape of Socrates
In his attempt to convince Crito that
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Obedience to the Laws
The laws attempt to use Socrates’ own arguments to force him to obey. They remind Socrates that according to him it is necessary to keep one’s promises. In this way they attempt to corner Socrates with his implied agreement to abide by the laws of the state. This, however, is proven to be a wholly inadequate reason. Socrates’ line on the keeping of promises runs under the implication that the keeping of the promise is just. In this case it is not, and Socrates is free to break his implied promise to the state.4
Socrates then proceeds to have the laws ask a number of questions that appear increasingly comic and desperate. He has the laws adopt a style that is very self-consciously similar to his own manner of questioning in the dialogues. The laws attempt to lay claim to his birth as it was through the laws of the state that his parents met. All this serves the purpose of further developing the question of the justice of Socrates’ escape versus the injustice of his imprisonment. This section also brings the discussion back to the obligation of Socrates to follow the laws due to the hand they had in his upbringing. Here, however, the purpose is not simply obligation by association, but that he must follow the laws in the same way a slave is obliged to follow his master. It is not a matter of morality or damage to the

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