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Socrates Paper

The duty between a citizen and the law and vice versa has been a challenging question that many individuals have been trying to answer for centuries. Throughout history many philosophers, historians, writers etc. have tried and to some extent in their best opinion come up with an answer. Plato, who through Socratic dialogues of the human soul provides a window for understanding the nature of the state, made one such attempt.

In his famous dialogue, the Apology, which is a defense of the charges made on Socrates, he compares himself to a gadfly, "Ð'.... as upon a great noble horse which was somewhat sluggish because of its size and needed to be stirred up by a kind of gadfly." (Apology 30e) In this passage the Athenian state is the lazy horse, which is liable to drift into a deep sleep, but through his influence- irritating as it may be to some- it can be wakened into a state with productive and virtuous action. As the reader can see that the citizen also has to help the State by teaching individuals what is right and wrong. If either the State or the citizens do not do their job then it is the duty of the other to make aware of them and wake them up from this temporary sleep.

After the trial of the Socrates where he was found guilty and sentenced to death comes another great work of Plato, the Crito, where Socrates friend Crito has come to the prison cell to persuade him to run away and not drink the poison. In this dialogue Socrates provides two very good analogies on the relationship between the State and the citizens.

The first one is that there is a "social contract" between the citizens and the Law. This contract has been validated since the birth of an individual. Socrates claims that by running away and not facing the verdict of the court Socrates is to breach the contract He further goes on to explain that he has been happy with the Athenian way of life up till now and breaking the contract now would make him an outlaw who would not be welcome in any other civilized state for the rest of his life.

One of many moral views philosophers hold is to obey your parents as they



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