Lynellen Perry
Sept. 13, 1991
Phil. 101, O'Connor
Expository Paper

	In the "Crito," Socrates has adopted the position of not escaping from prison
after his trial while awaiting execution.  He has several circumstances that 
should have tempted him to escape, though.  These include the unfairness of his trial 
and injustice of it's verdict, the fact that his children will be left without a 
father to raise and educate them (95), his friends urge him to act in self-defense and
preserve his life so that he may continue following god's call to be a 
philosopher (82), and finally that his friends, and other strangers, are willing to 
make it financially easy for Socrates to escape and leave the country (82).  However,
Socrates brushes off all of these enticements and insists that he should not
escape from prison.  Why?  Because he must obey the absolute moral principle 
that one should not return wrong for wrong . . . even to save one's life.

	Socrates uses a variety of arguments to support his position during an
imaginary conversation with The Laws of Athens.  Let's look at the lesser
arguments first.  The Laws say to Socrates that if he doesn't escape from 
prison, he will at least "escape being laughed at for leaving the city" (94); he will 
not put his friends at risk of "being banished and either losing their citizenship or 
having their property confiscated" (94); he won't ruin his reputation as a philosopher
seeking truth and speaking on goodness and uprightness and become known instead
as "a destroyer of law and order" (94); and finally, he won't "confirm the 
opinion of the jurors who tried [him] that they gave a correct verdict" (94).

	But these arguments are superfluous as Socrates has always said that one
should look after the soul first and "not think more of your children or of 
your life or of anything else than you think of what is right" (95).  So he turns to 
answering the question, 'Why is escaping wrong?' as his central argument.  For if he 
can prove it is wrong, then it can't be done even if he has been wronged by being put in
prison.

	To show that escape is wrong, Socrates first shows that he has made a
contract to live by the laws of Athens by the facts that he has stayed in 
Athens all of his life and that he has even begotten and raised children there (92).  
Second, he shows that he has a duty to obey the law since the laws gave him life (via
allowing his parents to marry), provided rules for his upbringing and 
education, and that therefore he is a child and a servant of the laws (90).  The laws 
have no provision for retaliation for he does not have equality of rights with the law 
(90) (if he did, then chaos would result from people doing whatever they wanted
despite the legal judgments of the laws (90)).  So if he escapes from prison, 
he will be doing wrong because he is breaking the contract he had made to obey the
laws of Athens (95) . . . and this violates the principle of not returning 
wrong for wrong.