How does Socrates use ethos, pathos, and logos in his argument?

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Crito is a dialogue between Socrates, a well-known Greek philosopher imprisoned for blasphemy and awaiting his execution, and the eponymous Crito, a wealthy friend who attempts to arrange Socrates's escape from judgment. Throughout the text, Crito tries to persuade Socrates to come with him to Thessaly, and Socrates refuses. There...

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Crito is a dialogue between Socrates, a well-known Greek philosopher imprisoned for blasphemy and awaiting his execution, and the eponymous Crito, a wealthy friend who attempts to arrange Socrates's escape from judgment. Throughout the text, Crito tries to persuade Socrates to come with him to Thessaly, and Socrates refuses. There are many places where each, in his effort to persuade the other, appeals to ethos, logos, and pathos. I have described one example for each below:

Ethos: One establishes ethos by referring to their own credibility, experience, and authority. When Socrates disregards the opinions of the many—a defense that Crito uses to persuade him to leave—he positions himself as the "one man who has understanding" compared to others. Socrates was respected in Athens as a teacher and provocateur, and by reaffirming his own knowledge and authority, he establishes his own credibility to stand firm against Crito's argument.

Logos: One appeals to logos through logic, reasoning, and evidence to support claims. Later in the text, Socrates and Crito engage in a classical Socratic dialogue about the importance of doing good and rejecting evil. Afterward, Socrates reiterates that doing good and following justice is most important—and that includes following the law, even an unjust one. He reasons that if he were to escape, he and his friends would be branded "subverters of the law" and corrupters of young people. Furthermore, if he were to flee from an orderly city like Athens, he would be seen as "violat[ing] the most sacred laws from a miserable desire of a little more life." This logical explanation affirms Socrates's dedication to upholding justice and the law, a foundation for a functioning society. By escaping, he would break not only the law, but his moral code, and therefore he cannot leave.

Pathos: An appeal to pathos is an appeal to the emotions and values of the audience. While Socrates valued rational discourse over blatant emotional appeals, it is impossible to separate emotions from one's values, one's view of authority, or one's attachment to logic as a superior method of thinking. Toward the end of the discussion, Socrates makes a distinction between a good, just, and honorable life and an evil one to discourage retaliation. He claims that "doing evil in return for evil . . . is the morality of the many." By portraying the masses as evildoers, he encourages Crito to be on the other side: a good nonconformist. Crito would place emotional value on being a good person and not on the side of the masses that Socrates critiques; therefore, he might be persuaded to listen to his teacher.

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Socrates's arguments in Crito are framed as a direct response to Crito's pleading with his old friend to make good his escape. Crito has such great love and regard for Socrates that he cannot stand to see him put to death, especially on such unjust grounds. But Socrates is having none of it; he will stay and take his punishment. As it may seem strange for him to do so, he proceeds to explain his reasoning.

Ethos: This is a rhetorical device which is designed to appeal to an audience's moral values. Not surprisingly, Socrates makes fulsome use of moral appeals in Crito as his whole philosophy was devoted to the question of what constitutes the good life. And here we see Socrates emphasizing the qualitative nature of life. It is no use his friends being upset over his imminent demise, what matters is whether one has led a good life. As a good life involves not knowingly doing harm, then there's no sense in which such a life can ever be truly undone by an unjust punishment. A good life transcends whatever anyone can throw at it. And Socrates, by his own high standards, has indeed led a good life.

Logos: An appeal to one's reason. It's vitally important for Socrates, a philosopher, to frame rational arguments in response to Crito. Socrates chides his friend for using arguments shared by the multitude, by women and children. Difficult though it may be for his friends to accept Socrates' decision, he does have rational arguments to justify his staying to face the music.

Socrates is an Athenian citizen. He has lived in the city all his life. By doing so, he has tacitly accepted its laws. If he were to run away now, then he would be breaking an unwritten agreement between himself and the state. What right has Socrates, or anyone else for that matter, to defy the law? If Socrates had wanted to leave Athens he could easily have done so, but chose not to. In choosing to remain, he made an undertaking to abide by Athens' laws, for good or ill.

It would be completely contrary to everything that Socrates has ever stood for, for him to use pathos, an appeal to one's emotions. Socrates is a thoroughgoing rationalist, believing that emotion has no place in the examined life of the philosopher. It is the preserve of the ignorant and ill-educated. Any emotional content we find in Crito is supplied largely by Socrates' eponymous friend.

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