Argument in an athenian Jail: Socrates and the Law
This lesson focuses on the Crito, in which Socrates argues against the idea that he should escape the penalty of death imposed on him by Athens, laying the groundwork for future debates over the rights of the individual and the rule of law. Students read the dialogue and analyze its arguments in class discussion, extending the dialogue by adding themselves to it. They then consider how Socrates might have responded to extenuating circumstances: for example, if his sentence had been imposed by a tyrant rather than in a trial, or if it had been influenced by prejudice. To conclude, students consider whether this Socratic argument still holds true today, finding examples in contemporary American society to demonstrate their point of view.
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