Crito: Novel Summary: Chapter 1
In 399 B.C., Athens sought someone to blame for its humiliating defeat in the Peloponnesian War with Sparta and its allies. This scapegoat, through default more than anything, became Socrates, the legendary Athenian philosopher. Since Socrates often questioned the intentions of Athens' politicians, he was blamed for attempting to ruin Athens through slander of its leaders and religious tradition.
Socrates defends his actions in The Apology, and defends his decision to carry out his conviction in Crito. When the court suggests to Socrates that he will be acquitted if he agrees to stop practicing philosophy, he responds by saying, "Athenians, I hold you in the highest regard and love; but I will obey God rather than you: and as long as I have breath and strength I will not cease from philosophy, and from exhorting you, and declaring the truth to every one of you whom I meet.Either acquit me, or do not acquit me, but be sure that I shall not alter my way of life; no, not if I have to die for it many times."
Crito takes place later, after Socrates is condemned to death and sitting in jail. At this time, Socrates has many followers who hope he will agree to escape. When Crito, a friend of the philosopher, comes to advocate this position, Socrates logically refutes his argument.