On trial for offenses against the Athenian public, The Apology finds philosopher and man-about-town Socrates engaged in a noble proclamation of his innocence. Found guilty and sentenced to death, Socrates is isolated to prison. He is confronted by a scheming friend, as he awaits execution. Plato's composite of this encounter is detailed in Crito. In this, Socrates reconciles the imperative; to face his unjustly decreed execution, despite Socrates" previous insistence of his innocence. He reasons so by asserting the existence of a social agreement, and that a violation of Athenian law would signify his reneging on the implicit compact between himself and the state. Thus damaging the laws, as well as Socrates' own future prospects, whether abroad or in the afterlife.
Just before the break of dawn in the Athenian prison, a solemn Socrates greets his visitor Crito, who wastes little time in revealing his plans for Socrates" immediate escape. However, Socrates, somewhat surprisingly, does not seem quite so willing to leave his cell. Instead, to Crito's shock and disappointment, he seems far more eager to remain, patiently awaiting his approaching execution. (Crito 43a - 44b).
What is appalling to Crito might be equally shocking to the reader. Especially, to a reader who has recently read Socrates" eloquent speech on behalf of his innocence, as related by Plato, in The Apology. Why, we ask, might Socrates seem eager to accept his unjust punishment, accorded by unjust men, in this the most unjust of situations? Certainly, we believe this great philosopher Socrates, whose passion for justice seems equaled only by his passion for reason, might seek to escape his undeserved sentence. After all, we know that Aristotle did, and with good reason. If people are acting unjustly, and out of ignorance; surely their punishment can not be condoned by the gods. As I read, I drew a distinct parallel between Socrates" martyristic death.