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[ 43a - 44 b ] [ 44c - 46a ] [ 46b - 49 a ] [ 49b- 50c ] [ 50d - 51c] [ 51d - 53a] [ 53b - 54a ]

2. Crito's Arguments


Crito. Yes: the meaning is only too clear. But, O! my beloved
Socrates, let me entreat you once more to take my advice and
escape. For if you die I shall not only lose a friend who can
never be replaced, but there is another evil: people who do
44c not know you and me will believe that I might have saved
you if I had been willing to give money, but that I did not care.

Ruins of the State Jail
Photo: Steven S. Tigner
Now, can there be a worse disgrace than this -- that I
should be thought to value money more than the life of a
friend? For the many will not be persuaded that I wanted
you to escape, and that you refused.

Socrates. But why, my dear Crito, should we care about the
opinion of the many? Good men, and they are the only
persons who are worth considering, will think of these
things truly as they happened.

44d Cr. But do you see, Socrates, that the opinion of the many
must be regarded, as is evident in your own case, because
they can do the very greatest evil to anyone who has lost
their good opinion?

Soc. I only wish, Crito, that they could; for then they could
also do the greatest good, and that would be well. But the
truth is, that they can do neither good nor evil: they cannot
make a man wise or make him foolish; and whatever they
do is the result of chance.

44e Cr. Well, I will not dispute about that; but please to tell me,
Socrates, whether you are not acting out of regard to me and
your other friends: are you not afraid that if you escape hence
we may get into trouble with the informers for having stolen
you away, and lose either the whole or a great part of our
45a property; or that even a worse evil may happen to us? Now,
if this is your fear, be at ease; for in order to save you, we
ought surely to run this or even a greater risk; be persuaded,
then, and do as I say.

Soc. Yes, Crito, that is one fear which you mention, but by
no means the only one.

Cr. Fear not. There are persons who at no great cost are
willing to save you and bring you out of prison; and as for
the informers, you may observe that they are far from being
exorbitant in their demands; a little money will satisfy them.
45b My means, which, as I am sure, are ample, are at your service,
and if you have a scruple about spending all mine, here are
strangers who will give you the use of theirs; and one of them,
Simmias the Theban, has brought a sum of money for this very
purpose; and Cebes and many others are willing to spend their
money too. I say, therefore, do not on that account hesitate
about making your escape, and do not say, as you did in the
court, that you will have a difficulty in knowing what to do
with yourself if you escape. For men will love you in other
45c places to which you may go, and not in Athens only; there are
friends of mine in Thessaly, if you like to go to them, who
will value and protect you, and no Thessalian will give you
any trouble. Nor can I think that you are justified, Socrates,
in betraying your own life when you might be saved; this
is playing into the hands of your enemies and destroyers; and
moreover I should say that you were betraying your children;
for you might bring them up and educate them; instead of
which you go away and leave them, and they will have to take
their chance; and if they do not meet with the usual fate of
orphans, there will be small thanks to you. No man should
45d bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere
to the end in their nurture and education. But you are
choosing the easier part, as I think, not the better and manlier,
which would rather have become one who professes virtue in
all his actions, like yourself. And, indeed, I am ashamed not
only of you, but of us who are your friends, when I reflect that
45e this entire business of yours will be attributed to our want of
courage. The trial need never have come on, or might have
been brought to another issue; and the end of all, which is
the crowning absurdity, will seem to have been permitted by
us, through cowardice and baseness, who might have saved
46a you, as you might have saved yourself, if we had been good
for anything (for there was no difficulty in escaping); and we
did not see how disgraceful, Socrates, and also miserable all
this will be to us as well as to you. Make your mind up then,
or rather have your mind already made up, for the time of
deliberation is over, and there is only one thing to be done,
which must be done, if at all, this very night, and which any
delay will render all but impossible; I beseech you therefore,
Socrates , to be persuaded by me, and to do as I say.