Sample Essay on Escaping Prison

Escaping Prison

Socrates was imprisoned for corrupting young people and impiety. The first crime involved his action in disbelieving and questioning the traditional gods. During this time, if a person was seen to act or hold beliefs different from those of the community/traditions he/she would be held accountable by way of punishment. It is for this reason that Socrates was in jail. He believed and expressed diverse thought on traditional gods hence had to face the law. His friend Crito came for his rescue by arranging for his escape from prison. Thus, he made a deal with the guard by bribing him so as to allow Socrates to escape when time comes. However, the plan would not see the light of the day because Socrates opposed the move by terming it as violation of the law. Socrates states “we have to choose whether the social peace the laws enable is more important than the life of an innocent man (pg, 230)” His arguments for not escaping from prison were based on a number of reasons. The first reason is that the procedure followed in convicting him was legitimate even through the verdict was unwelcomed. This insinuates that if he escaped, then, he wound be going against the same laws which he claims to be observing. At this moment, the verdict would be overturned by contending it through legitimate procedure. Socrates argues “while the verdict was wrong, it was nonetheless reached through legitimate procedures (pgs, 230)” The trial followed the laid down rules and regulations hence need to obey the verdict.  The second reason is that he was nurtured through the law and defying the law would be going against his own beliefs. In addition, “since the laws enabled his father to marry his mother, the laws are as much his parents as they are. He also points out that the laws commanded his parents to educate him (pgs, 260)” To obey the law means pay respect to procedures and traditions through which the law has been established. This indicates that every individual must protect the law and abhor its procedures. Socrates was not exempted from this hence needed to pay attention to law. The law was compared to parents hence a person cannot abandon his/her parents (Santas 67). In addition, one must pay respect to his/her care givers as the law protects the interest of the public.

If I were Crito, the counter arguments by Socrates intend to discourage the use of unlawful means to get out from prison. My role would be to convince Socrates that the decision to kill him will not change in the meantime hence the best alternative is to find a way out of prison. One of the means through which Socrates could get out of prison is to escape at night. This would mean that the plan by Crito would still hold as it offers the best way out of the current challenge. For this plan, my role would be to coordinate activities that will leads to escape by ensuring that his safety is guaranteed. This comes along with some challenges because some of the guards may refuse to heed to our plea hence abort the plan. This mean that an alternative plan need be provided to ensure that when one fails it takes the stage. It means that “If one accepts the premise of the social compact as Socrates lays it out, there’s still the question of the other side of the compact. Citizens may have obligations to the law, but the law in turn has obligations to the citizens (pg, 270)” The second role is to act as an arbitrator between the authority and Socrates. This means that I will use my position and status in the community to influence the outcome of the final decision that will be made on this particular case. This is because my name will be tarnished due to the association and connection between Socrates and me. It wills also portrays my character as uncaring because Socrates has children to take care of hence abandoning him at the time of need would be unethical. Finally, if my earlier plans do not work then I would leave justice to have its way. Therefore, I would leave it to him to work out the plan and contend the decision made by the law enforcing body. This indicates that “the trial was conducted according to the established rules, he had a chance to make his case (pgs, 240)” This insinuates that when the time comes for the execution of death, Socrates have to contract some lawyers to presents his case so as to avert the decision. The same law that was used to come up with a verdict that Socrates needs to perish in prison can be applied backwards to prove the innocent of the victim. This is because of the fact that Socrates is determined to follow the right way and ensure that he proves his case through legal means.

Cephalus, Polemarchus and Thrasymachus

There are several definitions of justice as held by the three authors’ namely: Polemarchus Cephalus and Thrasymachus. Each of one of these individuals offered new insight into the meaning of justice. Cephalus offer his definition of justice is observing the legal obligations while maintaining honesty. This means that when a person is obliged by the law to do the right thing. This insinuates that a person needs to honor legal dealings or promises that he/she makes with others. An example is where a person returns an item that he/she borrowed from another. Socrates refutes this claim and terms it as destructive in the sense that legal obligations may result to harm or destruction. He found that “justice consists in following the laws and repaying one’s creditors (pgs 200)” Thus, repaying a creditor for debt or promise owed is not always welcomed. The reason behind this is that when a person does this, others may be at risk an action that possess them to threats. He gave an example where a person returns or gives back a knife to a mad person. It is an obligation to give or return back the item to the owner. However, doing so will pose some challenges to the community and people living within or near the person. He/she may use the item/ weapon to scare or injure his/her neighbors. Thus, it is not always good to honor promises such as the one above.

Polemarchus on the other side holds that justice is aiding and doing well to friends while mistreating or harming those people considered being your enemies. This indicates that people should choose their friends well and identify their enemies based on merits. The process should not be engulfed with emotions or feelings. At the same point, the definition does not offer a clear meaning of the two words. He stated that “justice as helping friends and harming enemies (pgs 201)” The word enemy may be applied differently by people. This is because what a person may use as the basis for enmity may form part of friendship qualities for other individuals. This contradicts the features or basis through which these words derive their definitions. Socrates found out that man is full of inequities and may error in judging and choosing who are their friends and enemies. Thus, a person may mistake friends for enemies hence the definition could not be applied across the board.

Thrasymachus on his part regards to justice as the advantages of those people who are strong. However, their actions may not necessarily be justified. This is why Socrates opposes the move due to the fact that rulers may be engaged in law making endeavors that benefit the ruled and not themselves. He found that “What benefits the stronger party is just (pgs, 203)” This means that doing justice will first mean that you do disservice to yourself to benefit others. The end result would be harming selves so as to benefit or render justice to others. Therefore, the position was contented by Socrates who thought that it misrepresented what justice is.

According to my opinion, the strongest opinion is the definition by Cephalus that portray justice as obedience to law and order as well as paying attention to obligations.  When a person is obliged to do something for the government or to another person, he/she will be ready to honor the deal. It also uncovers that “justice is always practiced with reluctance, not as good in itself, but as a thing one cannot do without (pgs, 234)” This acts as a motivation to the other party to continue working together due to the benefits accrued. The reason as to why I find this definition to clearly outline the specifics about justice is that the two parties involved are able to benefit from the endeavor. it is also stated that “it appears that justice is a type of good like pain: justice is at best instrumentally good, but certainly not desirable for its own sake—and in fact people are reluctantly just (pgs, 220)” Unlike Thrasymachus definition where the strongest party takes the Centre stage while the look is segregated, this definition tends to treat all parties in a way that they pay respect to their obligations. It is through the actions that parties will co-exist peacefully and in harmony with each other. The issues of justice have raised some controversies in the world today. This is because what a community refers to or hold to be justice may be contested by another community. In addition, the actions and behaviors of leaders are not justified due to the fact that they hold or command a huge following. These actions are evaluated through ethical means to ensure that they were done for the benefit of the public. If actions go against or causes harm to a larger population, then, it will be termed as unethical or unjustified more so when the action does not benefit the doer.

Plato’s Republic

Censorship in Plato’s republic plays several roles that will be outlined below. The first role played by censorship is to help individual grow in the right manner rather than consuming literary materials that will interfere with growth of mind. The reason behind this is that when a person consumes or is exposed to drama and poetry at an early age, he/she will become dull hence unable to make the right decision in life. Some of the behaviors and characters portrayed in literary materials and work tends to reward the unjust hence children should be protected from such kind of notions to ensure they grow and adopt the right behavior. In addition, censorship enables a community avoid worst behaviors in children while adopting the right form of actions. Limiting the exposure to drama will make sure that children refrain from emulating or believing that tragic hero’s behaviors are the right ones. He says that “early absorption in fictional accounts can dull a person’s ability to make accurate judgments regarding matters of fact and that excessive participation in dramatic recitations might encourage some people to emulate the worst behavior of the tragic hero’s (pgs, 240)” Some of the behaviors glorified by the hero’s go against the laid down rules and regulation. For example, when criminals or crime wins over good acts then the community will be teaching the wrong behaviors to its generation. The repercussion would be increased crime in the long last an action that will affects the security status in the republic as well as social life of communities. In addition, “it is vital for a society to exercise strict control over the content of everything that children read, see, or hear (pgs, 242)”

The allegory of the cave is one of the analogies that Plato used to explain what freedom means to people. The story unfolds when an individual is put in the cave and then taken out after some time. Fire is lit at the uppers side of the cave and a puppeteer passed in front so that the shadow is cast on the wall. The prisoners think that the shadow is of a man passing and so they trust their instinct. When they are taken out and saw that it is fire, they begged to be taken back to the cave because they cannot live with the reality. This is the reason as to why Plato denotes that what we think or hear about something is not the real thing which appears in the world. These people think that the shadow is the real thing. Moreover, he states “What the prisoners see and hear are shadows and echoes cast by objects that they do not see (pgs, 245)” The same happens when individuals engage in literacy work. This means that banning of some of poetry work will ensures that individual do not adopt or put more emphasis on wrong behaviors. Some of these materials that are restricted tend to portray some characters as acts of heroism. The manner in which people talk, hear or think about something may be different from the real thing or the way things ought to be (Plato, et al. 77). This wills beings about some confrontation or confusion when a person comes to experience the real thing. Moreover “it remains true that our very ability to think and to speak depends on the Forms. For the terms of the language we use get their meaning by “naming” the Forms that the objects we perceive participate in (pgs, 243)” Thus, some works of art are written on ground of imagination and when human beings believe in these ideologies then they will act contrary to what is expected. Therefore, censorship of these ideologies will help to save the population from unfathomed outcomes that comes as a result of consuming a lot from these materials.

Censorship should be used to hold political power. The reason behind this is that individuals and groups in the political arena may conform to extreme ideologies that may results to war. To avoid this, some limitations should be established and put into practice to ensure that people behave in a responsible manner. In the political arena, people pay attention to the ideologies brought out by their leaders who may take advantage of their subject “the power and capacity of learning exists in the soul already; and that just as the eye was unable to turn from darkness to light without the whole body, so too the instrument of knowledge can only by the movement of the whole soul be turned from the world of becoming into that of being, and learn by degrees to endure the sight of being, and of the brightest and best of being, or in other words, of the good (pgs, 246)” Due to the fact that ideologies depends on leadership styles or the person who holds leadership then limitations should be effected so as the control the behaviors and actions of the subjects. In some cases, people may be lured to make the wrong decision that may hurt others in their localities or within their environment.

Republic Declines and fall

The decline of the republic takes place when wrong people get into power. According to Plato, a state moves from Aristocracy, Democracy, Oligarchy, and Democracy to Tyranny. For every state manned by different souls, these stages form part and parcel of their life. In the first stage which is Aristocracy, the state is under the regime of philosopher’s king. Decisions are made through the application of reasons and wisdom. This makes the city flourish amid another polis in the surrounding. The next stage in the life of a state is Democracy where war-oriented leaders assume the helm of leadership. At this point, the society is characterized with major war and differences amongst communities. They are more likely to engage in war with neighbors because their leaders believe in war as a means of solving issues that befalls them.

The third stage is Oligarchy where wealth controls the action of leaders and members of the community. Thus, greed for wealth and economic muscle emerges amongst leaders hence results to struggle. Leaders who rise to power are looking and focused on creating or amassing wealth for themselves rather than the community they serve. At this point, citizens or the polis express their dissatisfaction with leaders request for change in authority. At the time, Plato inscribed to deflate the administration in position because it made no attempt to see fairness come into existence. This is because much attention was attached to social diversities such that the poor would not access some of the basic amenities. Moreover “Plato recognized and caught up the true spirit of his times, and brought it forward in a more definite way, in that he desired to make this new principle an impossibility in his Republic (pgs, 256)” This carry in an aspect of bias. Similarly, the classification of impartiality obtainable was disconcerted sagacity that individual emotionally involved varied view to the grounds. This saw leaders and society head perform in miscellaneous customs in observe to communal justice. The forth form of leadership is democracy. At this point, the state is more leaned towards equality and freedom for every person within the country. People are free to make decisions that suite their desires hence increase the satisfaction. In regards to political decisions, citizens have an influence into the direction taken by their leaders “Each of these constitutions is worse than the other, with a tyranny being the most wretched form of government, and the tyrannical man the most wretched of men (pgs, 280)” Delegation of power and authority is also highly appreciated in this form of state. Due to the freedom accorded to people, some develop and adopt extremist ideologies that they intend to impose on others. This is known as tyranny where oppression and chaos dominate the community “No man can overleap his time, the spirit of his time is his spirit also; but the point at issue is, to recognize that spirit by its content (pgs, 260)”. At this time, order and laws are not followed to the letter and people in power tend to use their position to oppress others. This is a clear indication that a nation has fallen and will take a long period of time to regain or go back to democracy.

The same thing is observed in human beings in the sense that they grow from a humble to a chaotic state. First, when a person is growing he/she focuses on meeting the daily needs. At this point, an individual will be at peace and will be governed with little effort. When one rises to leadership he/she develops greed for wealth and they make as much wealth as they can “These people will want to change things so that rulers can have private property and focus on wealth, while the good among the rulers will want to preserve the old order and focus on virtue (pgs, 290)”. Thus, the subjects struggle to make the end meet and they blame their leaders for the situation they find themselves in “Plato’s Republic is not an abstract theory or ideal which is beyond, or too good for the real nature of man, but is not ideal enough, it is not good enough for the ideals which were already inherent or nascent in the reality of his time; a time when Greece was about to enter decline (pgs, 270)” This is the start of the struggle between the ruled and the rulers. The consequences are chaos and fight amongst citizens.

Lastly, a just man is happy because he does what benefits the community. For an action to be just, an individual need or a group of people attain some benefits from the endeavor. This indicates that an action is regarded to be just when it offers benefits instead of pain to the target audience. By doing this, an individual will attain fulfillment for having done what is right to him/her community.

Works Cited

Plato, et al. Republic: Volume 6. Books 6-10. Harvard UP, 2013.

Santas, Gerasimos X. Socrates. Routledge, 2010.