Essay on the Gorgias

Feb 12, 2009 Filed under:Samples — admin @ 8:02 pm

Essay on the Gorgias

Essay on Plato Gorgias belongs to literature type of essay. This page contains a short sample essay written on Plato’s Gorgias. Of course, free sample essay may not compare with the custom written essay.  If you need help writing essay of the Gorgias, do not hesitate to order professional essay services at our site! We are able to write your essay on the Gorgias especially for you! Custom essay writing is safe and easy to use!

Sample Essay on the Gorgias

Of Plato Gorgias something has already been said, as illustrating both the superman theory of Callicles and the rhetorical training for politics given by Gorgias and Polus, and the connection between them. Rhetoric, in itself neither moral nor immoral, furnishes its possessor with power over others, and thus readily becomes a tyrant's weapon, a source of a superman's strength. But the Socratic-Platonic side of the arguments in this dialogue has a positive value in political thought. The art of πολιτικη?? is conceived as relating to the mind (464 B), a counterpart to those arts which relate to the body--medicine and physical culture. In this analogy the statesman is compared to a trainer or physician, whose aim is to produce health, while the rhetorician is like a cook, who is trying to tickle the palate. If the aim of the statesman is to secure the well-being of the state, rhetoric provides no clue to what that condition is. Thus, more broadly speaking, the purpose of the Gorgias, as one of Plato's later followers I said, is to discuss 'the ethical foundations from which we may proceed to political well-being'. The famous Gorgias is not depicted as an immoralist, and the eager Polus even goes so far (482 D) as to agree with the Socratic dictum 'it is more disgraceful to commit than to suffer wrong'. But for Callicles πολιτικη?? has no ethical foundations whatever; he has nothing in common with Socrates except (and it is an important exception) intellectual honesty (487 B - 488 B). If the keynote to the Platonic Socrates' view of life is self-control, that of his opponent here is self-expression; and since political well-being depends on the life and character of the man, the question 'What kind of man to be and what aim to pursue'  is of prime importance. 'For you see,' says Socrates in the dialogue (500 C) 'that the subject of our discussion is one which anyone with any intelligence must take seriously. After what manner ought we to live?' This is a question which must have been constantly in the mind of the historical Socrates and to which his whole life was his answer. But for Plato there still remained the problem how to relate Socrates' answer, which must have been right, to the lives of other men.

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