NovelGuide: Crito: Novel Summary: Chapter 2
Crito enters the cell, depressed himself at the prospect of Socrates' unjust death. Socrates asserts that a man of his age is lucky to have lived so long, and that his mandated death has not cut short his life. Next, Crito grudgingly tells Socrates that the ship from Delos is approaching, marking the end of an annual Athenian celebration that prohibits political executions for the several weeks of its duration.
Socrates seems resigned to his fated death, but Crito attempts to persuade him to allow his friends to help him escape prison and flee Athens. If this doesn't happen, Crito says, others will criticize Socrates' disciples for not rescuing their leader from this unfair sentence. Yet Socrates asserts that following popular opinion instead of the gods' will is not right. Soon Crito becomes more desperate, hoping to encourage Socrates with his elaborate and carefully designed plan for escape. He further suggests to Socrates that unless he agrees to escape, he will be letting his sons, who still need to be properly educated by their father, down.
Socrates responds by inviting Crito into a classic Socratic dialogue, in which Socrates asks a series of questions in efforts to eventually prove Crito's logic faulty. He begins by convincing Crito that the advice of one "expert" individual, namely God, should be heeded much more than the advice of countless ignorant people, namely Athens' as a whole. In this way, he proves to Crito that popular opinion is irrelevant.
Next, Socrates makes the point that it is always better to do right than wrong, no matter what the circumstances. It then follows that although the jurors who condemned Socrates have wronged him, it would still be wrong to violate the laws by escaping. Socrates continues by stating that he doesn't believe in doing wrong to others as a means of retaliation. Crito, helpless in Socrates' logic, quickly agrees with all of this.