Where might you place the Crito in reference Plato's other works? Is it an early dialogue, a middle one, or a later one? What reasons might you use to support your answer? (Hint: early dialogues are characterized by Socratic irony, and absence of positive doctrines, and a cross- examination of a supposed expert regarding some ethical matter that ends with the interlocutor in a state of aporia, or perplexity. More mature dialogues tend to go beyond a state of aporia and advance positive theses. They also frequently deal with metaphysical and epistemological problems.)
Compare and contrast Crito's argument that it would be unjust for Socrates to stay in prison--since that is what his enemies want--with Socrates' argument that it would be unjust for him to leave--since he would be destroying the laws. Is there a common ground between the two, or are they irreconcilable? What moral assumptions does each argument carry with it?
Can Socrates consistently claim that he has been wronged by the people of Athens, but has no right to break the Laws that have sentenced him?
Discuss and analyze the significance of the voice given to the Laws of Athens. If Socrates had simply presented an argument for staying in prison without creating this voice, how would that have affected his argument?
Socrates wants to treat moral issues between people and moral issues between the individual and the state as being on the same scale. Do you agree with his reduction? In what ways might moral decisions with respect to the state differ from those with respect to a friend?
Can the Laws of Athens commit injustice? If they do, what recourse does a wrongly accused citizen have? Why is Socrates unable to overturn his unjust condemnation?
The Laws tell Socrates that if they are wrong, they can be persuaded to change, but he must by no means break them forcefully. If Socrates has been wrongfully accused, why has he not managed to persuade the Laws to change?
Readers' Notes allow users to add their own analysis and insights to our SparkNotes—and to discuss those ideas with one another. Have a novel take or think we left something out? Add a Readers' Note!