The Socratic dialogues written by Plato; Euthyphro, The Apology, and Crito all take place during the last portion of Socrates’ life. More specifically, they take place at the time during which Socrates was accused of neglecting to recognize the gods and corrupting the youth of Athens and also during his time in prison. They were all written shortly after Socrates’ death by Plato and best portray Socrates and his philosophies. Each of the three dialogues is significant in themselves because each one represents an argument that Socrates makes and each contests a different claim.
The first dialogue, Euthyphro, centers on Socrates dismissing Euthyphro’s confidence in his understanding of piety and also contests a claim of holiness. The second, The Apology, focuses on Socrates’ defense against the charges of blasphemy and corruption of Athenian youth. Finally, the third dialogue, Crito, centers on Socrates’ rejection of Crito’s offer to help him escape death and also contests a claim of friendship and justice. The Socratic dialogue, Euthyphro, begins with Socrates encountering Euthyphro outside the court of Athens.
He has been called to the court for dismissing the gods and Euthyprho is there to prosecute his father for killing a man. When the two meet, Socrates comments on how Euthyphro must be a holy man for doing this and Euthyphro agrees. Socrates then insists that Euthyphro explain holiness, for it could help Socrates with his trial. First, Euthyphro explains that holiness is persecuting those who offend religion. Socrates dismisses this and Euthyphro then suggests that what is holy is agreeable to the gods.
Socrates then points out that gods often argue so what is agreeable to one may not be agreeable to all. With this, Euthyphro then says that what is holy is what is approved of by all the gods. Socrates then comes up with an argument to disprove this. He says that what is holy is approved by the gods because it is holy. Thus, what gets approved of by the gods determines what is approved of by the gods. This means that what is holy can’t be the same thing as what is approved of by the gods since one determines what gets approved of by the gods and the other what is approved.
Euthyphro comes up with more arguments however Socrates’ questioning angers him in which he leaves which makes this argument a success. In the dialogue, The Apology, Socrates makes his argument as to why he is not guilty for corrupting the youth of Athens. He explains that the oracle of Delphi claimed he was the wisest of all men. Socrates came to the conclusion that this meant he was wise in the sense that he was aware that he knew nothing. In order to spread this wisdom of his, Socrates felt it was his duty to question the “wise” men and expose their ignorance.