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Home Sweet Home?

January 13, 2011

Nothing is worse than leaving the town that you spent most of your life in. In Plato’s “Crito,” Socrates tries to convince Crito, and himself, that the best move, the just decision, would be for him to stay in Athens and face his punishment in front of Athens court. Socrates states that he has lived in Athens for all of his life and for seventy plus years, he has not had much concern with the way the people had acted or the way the law is handled, at least he never mentioned it, therefore for him to escape punishment would similarly be like spitting at Athens, the law in general, telling them to screw themselves. To leave what had been your home for so many years is just like saying goodbye to your life. Life is a valuable thing to have.
So is knowledge…
Although Socrates repeatedly mentions that he isn’t the brightest light bulb in the bunch, he was smart enough to not leave what he viewed as a great city. Corruption begins, at least one way it begins, is when a good majority of people, or a few notably popular people, begin to disobey or neglect existing rules, people, or regulations. How would others react if Socrates, a man who has been loyal to his country for almost a century, neglected his own government and ran off without a hint of dismay? The Athens government charged him of corrupting the children of Athens and his leaving would only justify their argument.
Socrates understands, just as every other moral person should understand, that home comes before anything. We all have opinions about how things should be done whether it is for the government, your job, or your personal life. I’m not saying that you should not express your opinions; however, what matters more is your home, your life, and you must live by the rules.

4 Comments
  1. Josh Platko permalink
    January 13, 2011 5:36 PM

    I couldn’t agree more with the fact that Socrates needed to stay in Athens. His entire life is based around there, and leaving to go elsewhere would result in some serious confusion. Socrates would be lost, and the only thing he would know how to do would be to go back home. I believe that people should be able to move though, in seek of a better life. A hot topic is the issue with Mexicans crossing our border to come to America. They are looking for jobs so they can send money back home to help their family. Some situatins require leaving home, but as everyone agrees, “there’s no place like home.”

  2. Kendall Rhode permalink
    January 19, 2011 1:32 PM

    Although I agree with you on the topic that Socrates made the right choice by staying in Athens, I still believe that Crito makes a compelling argument for Socrates to escape. Crito states that it would be unjust for Socrates to give up his own life when there is an opportunity to save it. Crito believes that Socrates is not acting as a courageous man and picking the easiest path instead of fighting for what is just. In addition, he argues that not only would he be hurting himself, but also his family. Specifically Crito says, “you are betraying your sons by going away and leaving them, when you could bring them up and educate them” (46d). He thinks that Socrates is more faithful to Athens than he is to his own family. It is an interesting concept whether a person owes allegiance to his/her city or his/her family.

  3. Jacob Miller permalink
    January 19, 2011 3:47 PM

    You bring up a great point. Crito believes that Socrates should be the courageous man in the situation. But what exactly is courageous about running away from the law? We must consider the times we are looking at. Having Socrates run away from Athens and live in exile only will not solve anything. Socrates will have to live knowing that he ran away from Athens, his people, and if that isn’t cowardice, I don’t know what is.

    You bring up the point about leaving his children by staying and facing punishment. However, when Meletus accuses Socrates of corrupting children, he would be doing just that by running away. He would be telling his children and family that if you are faced with a situation where you are conflicting with the law, you should just run away from these problems. Does that sound like the moral decision to make? Not at all. Children learn majority of their knowledge from their parents and if Socrates escapes, he is teaching his children that the law of their land is irrelevent. I believe that his decision to stay was just and the smartest decision for himself and his family.

  4. cfbeckman permalink
    January 19, 2011 8:55 PM

    I completely agree with your post. Socrates could’ve easily sacrificed everything he had going for him in Athens in order to live a life free of ridicule somewhere else. However, to uproot himself was never an option. Not only he lived there his whole life, like you said, but he also raised his family own family there, creating even more roots to Athens. The easier option for Socrates was always leaving and saving himself from the Athenian government’s punishment. However, whether he likes to admit it or not, Socrates is a very, very intelligent being-I believe he liked the challenge, even, the challenge of staying and fighting for himself, the more difficult option. A life without Athens was a life not worth living for Socrates, and I agree with you 100% when you say you think he made the correct decision by staying.

    Also, running away from the situation could only strength the Athenian views of Socrates’ accused corruption. This way, staying, Socrates could fight for his reputation. Today, because of his decision to stay and fight for himself, he is regarded as strong-willed and level-headed, someone who is regarded by most as someone who did not flee when the going got tough.

    No matter your opinion on Socrates, everyone can at least respect his decision to fight for himself, which was the more difficult option, but the right option for him.

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