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Crito Short Summary

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Crito is an account of a conversation that Socrates had with a rich friend named Crito. It is by the great philosopher Plato. Socrates has the belief that injustice cannot be solved by injustice, and that is why he rejected Crito’s attempt to help break him out. It is one of the oldest literary works.

The Plot in Detail

Socrates has been handed a death sentence for the crime of heresy. Crito wants to help him escape since he believes that the sentence is unjust. He gives the argument that there cannot be justice when bowing to an unjust law. Socrates, on the other hand, believes that such injustice cannot be solved by another injustice, thereby refusing the escape. The dialogue stresses on how injustice should be answered and explores several forms of justice. It also explores the theory of social contract in a government. The belief is that a government can only be stable if the citizens follow the laws it has provided.

The conversation is set in the cell of Socrates. He awaits his execution, which was to occur at dawn. Crito is wealthy and has many connections. Therefore he has made some arrangements to sneak Socrates of lock up and find him safety in exile. Socrates, however, does not seem to be interested in escaping. Crito, therefore, results in providing several arguments as to why death should be avoided. One of them is that the death of Socrates will present a bad image of his allies since they will appear to have done nothing to have prevented it. He also argues that the costs of the plans are not an issue since his friends have covered them. Crito finally uses ethics to argue that Socrates allowing his execution is helping the enemies keep ruling unjustly. Crito also mentions Socrates’s children who will be left fatherless.

Socrates will only agree to an escape if Crito can provide proof that it is right and just. Socrates dives into the laws in Athens, and they are portrayed as a third character. These laws explain that they live as one, breaking one will be breaking all. The laws believe that every citizen has a social contract with the government. Socrates is convinced he should continue following the laws since he has lived a successful life under them. Socrates believes that breaking the law now will result in harsh judgment when he gets to the underworld. He finally manages to convince Crito that his decision is right. Crito agrees to let him face his fate the next morning.

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