Socrates is one of the most famous philosophers of all time. His teachings have influenced generations of philosophers and thinkers, and for good reason. In Athens, Socrates was labeled a disturber of the peace and he was feared to be influencing the minds of Athenian youth, destroying the ways of their fathers. For his perceived “crimes”, Socrates appears before the court of Athens. He is subsequently sentenced to death. As Socrates waits in jail for his sentence to be carried out, his friend Crito appears and questions Socrates’ choice to accept death.
As the two philosopher converse in the jail cell, Socrates has one final teaching for his old student, Crito. The philosopher reveals his motives for following the unjust ruling of the court. It is here that the “social contract theory” is outlined. Socrates staunchly believes that the laws must be upheld, even if they are unjust. By giving the law its own voice, Socrates attempts to show that one must separate the laws of the state from the minds of men. Injustice should not be answered with injustice. Despite the fact that the Athenian court has condemned Socrates to death, he decides that he will uphold their ruling and nobly face his death.
“Even though it was written millennia ago, one will find applicable lessons about the justice system within the confines of this dialogue”.
Robert Johnson, The New York Times
“A memorable final exchange of knowledge between teacher and student, The Crito is a powerful lesson on injustice in the state”.
Maria Gonzalez, The Chicago Sun-Times