Piety And Justice In Plato's Trial And Death Of Socrates

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In Plato’s Trial and Death of Socrates, the value of piety and justice is emphasized repeatedly. To Socrates, it is never valid to knowingly commit an unjust action, as it does more harm than good. In other words, the most important thing in life is a good life that maintains the health of the body and psyche. Therefore, after failing to be acquitted from his trial, he must now determine whether it is just or unjust to escape without the approval of fellow Athenians. In his examination of possible liberation, Socrates rationalizes with Crito as to why he believes escaping does no justice for his psyche, or the city. He eventually personifies the law of Athens, talking in the voice of the law, to reason with Crito, and with himself, as to why…show more content…
According to the law, “Do not value either your children or your life or anything else more than goodness, in order that when you arrive in Hades you may hall all this as your defense before the rulers there” (54b). This assertion was especially notable to Socrates because he lives on the foundation of goodness and piety. To Socrates, “... the most important thing is not life, but the good life” (48b), “and the good life, the beautiful life, and just life are the same” (48b), meaning it is one thing to live, but it's another thing to live a fruitful life, filled with understanding and doing what is morally just. Throughout the book, the idea of maintaining a good psyche and body was a recurring theme. Maintaining this health is crucial, as life is not worth living if these entities are ruined. In the case of the voice of the law, to oppose the law and retaliate against it is wrong. If Socrates breaks the law everyone will view it as an example and reciprocate, resulting in corruption and destruction of the system. However, Socrates have been known and praised for his teaching of justice and virtue. If he were to commit an unjust act out of retaliation, how will others perceive him? If he, who views highly of piety, commits an unjust deed, he would surely lose his credential and validate the jury’s claim that he is corrupting the young. As a result, the psyche and body would be harm and life would no longer be worthwhile. Thus, Socrates chooses death for the good of the psyche, the city-state, and of who he is and what he believes

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