These new translations present Plato’s remarkable dramatization of the momentous events surrounding the trial of Socrates in 399 BC, on charges of irreligion and corrupting the young. The Euthyphro, Defence of Socrates, and Crito form a dramatic and thematic sequence, raising fundamental questions about the basis of moral, religious, legal, and political obligation. Plato explores these issues with a freshness and directness that have never been surpassed.
In the Defence of Socrates, Plato seeks not only to clear his master’s name, but also to defend the whole Socratic way of life, and therefore philosophy itself. The result is an oratorical masterpiece. The Euthyphro, an inquiry into the nature of piety, probes the relationship between religion and morality. The Crito discusses the citizen’s obligation to the state, in the context of a life-or-death issue confronting Socrates himself – whether or not to escape from prison.