On Socrates’ Final Words

Socrates’ last words:

“Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius; will you remember to pay the debt? The debt shall be paid, said Crito; is there anything else? There was no answer to this question; but in a minute or two a movement was heard, and the attendants uncovered him; his eyes were set, and Crito closed his eyes and mouth.

Such was the end, Eschcrates, of our friend; concerning whom I may truly say, that of all the men of his time whom I have known, he was the wisest, and justest and best.”

Moments before, after Socrates had taken the hemlock, he walked around his cell to complete the Homeric journey. Asclepius was the god of medicine. So, Socrates wanted to heal Athens with philosophy. Brought up on trumped up charges, of corrupting the youth and not being faithful to the old ways, here we have the man pious to the end, returning the debt to the God of healing. He did challenge the old ways though, and it’s natural too after Athens had lost such a devastating war. They had to question where things went wrong. They had the numbers, they had paideia. What didn’t they have? Perhaps it was restraint their appetite for power was to great, and so an unstoppable force met an immovable object.