“Apology of Socrates” and “Crito” by Plato
Questions for “Apology of Socrates” and “Crito” by Plato
Use the questions below to reflect on your reading, write a 2-page reader response. Remember to support all your claims with textual evidence.
1. What meanings of the word “apology” are you familiar with? What is meant by “apology” in Plato’s dialogue?
2. Identify and briefly describe the various parts of the “Apology of Socrates.” Also notice the stages of Athenian trial.
3. The “Apology” contains a considerable amount of information about Socrates’ life. Identify this information in the text to discover Plato’s view of his teacher.
4. What is Socrates accused of and what are his main points against his accusers? What points does he make after hearing his verdict?
5. The Oracle of Delphi had identified Socrates as the wisest of men. Socrates disagreed and went in search of the truly wise. Describe the people he meets and examine the tension between appearance and reality, doxa (opinion) and truth.
6. Examine the Socratic method of investigation. Find examples in your text.
7. To illustrate his fearlessness in the face of death, Socrates compares himself to Achilles. Examine this comparison and analyze Socrates’ attitude toward death. What is he asked to give up, to live, and why is death preferable to him?
8. Socrates held public office for a short while, as a member of the Council of Athens. Describe the cases he was involved with and examine his view on justice.
9. Socrates believed that he could be of greater service to his fellow Athenians teaching privately rather than holding a public office for an extensive period. Examine Socrates’ understanding of private duties versus public role.
10. At one point Socrates compares himself to a gadfly (a horsefly) and Athens to a “great and noble steed.” Why?
11. One thing Plato attempts in the “Apology” is to draw a large contrast between Socrates and the majority of the people in Athens. How would you sum up the difference between them?
12. Identify instances of Socratic irony. What did Socrates mean when he said, “wisdom is knowing that you know nothing”?
13. Examine the final verdict. Weigh the views of the prosecutor(s) and those of the defendant carefully and give your own verdict.
14. The “Crito” takes place in the jail where Socrates awaits execution. The dialogue is a debate between Socrates and Crito, his old friend, about whether Socrates should escape. Identify the time of day, the personality differences between Socrates and Crito, and describe Socrates’ prophetic dream.
15. Think of “Crito” as falling into three large parts. Identify and describe.
16. Examine Crito’s reasons in favor of Socrates’ escape and the main points in Socrates’ argument in favor of remaining in jail.
17. Socrates asks, “When injured should we injure in return …?” To what two injuries does he refer? Examine Socrates’ understanding of evil and injustice. Describe a similar Christian belief.
18. What, in your opinion, is the right response to human evil? Think of two contrasting responses to wrongdoings in today’s world.
19. Assume you are Crito. Offer your best single argument to Socrates for escaping. Remember, you will not be successful if you try to get him to violate his principles.
20. Identify and examine Socrates’ ideas of virtue and justice.
21. What is Socrates’ understanding of the laws and does Socrates believe in civil disobedience? What advice would she give to Antigone?
22. What, according to Socrates, is the best way to live?