24 pages 48 minutes read



Nonfiction | Essay / Speech | Adult | BCE

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Important Quotes

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“Other men of your age are caught in such misfortunes, but their age does not prevent them resenting their fate.”

(Page 43b-c)

When Crito points out that Socrates seems to be bearing his circumstances (imprisonment awaiting execution) remarkably well, Socrates responds that he is in fact very old. Having lived such a long life, it would be improper to resent death. Crito points out, however, that other elderly people do not treat imminent death so rationally.

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“I thought that a beautiful and comely woman dressed in white approached me. She called me and said: ‘Socrates, may you arrive at fertile Phthia on the third day.’”

(Page 44a-b)

Here Socrates recounts to Crito his prophetic dream in which a woman quotes a line of the Iliad (Book 9, line 363). Socrates interprets this dream to mean that he will not be executed the next day, as Crito believes, but the day after the next. The ancient Greeks used inclusive counting, so when Socrates refers to the “third day,” he means the day after tomorrow (the three days include today, tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow).

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“You see, Socrates, that one must also pay attention to the opinion of the majority. Your present situation makes clear that the majority can inflict not least but pretty well the greatest evils if one is slandered among them.”

(Page 44d)

When Socrates tells Crito to ignore any anxieties he has about his reputation, since the opinion of the majority is unimportant, Crito counters that Socrates’s fate is due to the opinion of the majority (namely, the majority of the jurors at Socrates’s trial). By “the greatest of evils,” Crito means the death penalty, and when he says “slandered among them,” he refers to the prosecution and trial of Socrates.