To Escape or not to Escape
Platos’s Crito begins with a conversation between Socrates and Crito in the prison in which Socrates is being held. Crito has come to visit his old friend in order to “make one last effort to persuade him to escape into exile.” Crito explains to Socrates that his death would reflect poorly on his [Crito’s] reputation. He says, “there can be no worse reputation than to be thought to value money more highly than one’s friends.” It is here that Socrates proclaims that no one man should “so much care for what the majority think.” Each man should not worry how the public perceives them, instead he should listen to the advice of his wisest peers. Ultimately, Socrates decides to stay in prison and accept his fate. What is the main reason that Socrates decides to stay in prison instead of escaping to a life of freedom in another country?
Based on the reading, there is evidence to support that Socrates decides to stay because that is the just thing to do. Is that really the case? In my opinion, Socrates did not want to escape prison because he did not want to tarnish his reputation. I believe that he cared so much about how the public perceived him, which was why ultimately he never escaped. His words to Crito are hypocritical as he is telling him one thing then doing the opposite. He claims that no man should worry about what the public thinks if him, yet he is refusing to escape prison so that his reputation will be saved.
This brings up another great idea. Should the public’s opinion of someone affect his or her actions? The answer to this question can go both ways. In a sense a person should be weary of how the public perceives them because they do not want to create problems with other people. But at the same time, a person’s actions should not be influenced by what other people think. In order for a person to grow, they must be themselves.
Plato, G. M. A. Grube, and John M. Cooper. The Trial and Death of Socrates: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Death Scene from Phaedo. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Pub., 2000. Print.