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Plato Gorgias Free Essays - Free Essay ..

Polus is an impetuous youth, a runaway ‘colt,’ as Socrates describes him, who wanted originally to have taken the place of Gorgias under the pretext that the old man was tired, and now avails himself of the earliest opportunity to enter the lists. He is said to be the author of a work on rhetoric (462 C), and is again mentioned in the Phaedrus (267 B), as the inventor of balanced or double forms of speech (cp. Gorg. 448 C, 467 C; Symp. 185 C). At first he is violent and ill-mannered, and is angry at seeing his master overthrown. But in the judicious hands of Socrates he is soon restored to good-humour, and compelled to assent to the required conclusion. Like Gorgias, he is overthrown because he compromises; he is unwilling to say that to do is fairer or more honourable than to suffer injustice. Though he is fascinated by the power of rhetoric, and dazzled by the splendour of success, he is not insensible to higher arguments. Plato may have felt that there would be an incongruity in a youth maintaining the cause of injustice against the world. He has never heard the other side of the question, and he listens to the paradoxes, as they appear to him, of Socrates with evident astonishment. He can hardly understand the meaning of Archelaus being miserable, or of rhetoric being only useful in self-accusation. When the argument with him has fairly run out,

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Plato. “The Apology.” Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Cito, Meno, Phaedo. 2nd ed. Trans. Grube, G.M.A. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc, 2002. 36.
Gorgias. Trans. Helmbold, W.C. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc, 1952. 18-19, 32-48.
“Book V.” The Republic of Plato. Trans. Bloom, Allan. New York: Basic Books Inc, 1968. 153-154.

Socrates and callicles plato gorgias essay - …

Plato's Gorgias - Forgotten Books

(1) In the Gorgias, as in nearly all the other dialogues of Plato, we are made aware that formal logic has as yet no existence. The old difficulty of framing a definition recurs. The illusive analogy of the arts and the virtues also continues. The ambiguity of several words, such as nature, custom, the honourable, the good, is not cleared up. The Sophists are still floundering about the distinction of the real and seeming. Figures of speech are made the basis of arguments. The possibility of conceiving a universal art or science, which admits of application to a particular subject-matter, is a difficulty which remains unsolved, and has not altogether ceased to haunt the world at the present day (cp. Charmides, 166 ff.). The defect of clearness is also apparent in Socrates himself, unless we suppose him to be practising on the simplicity of his opponent, or rather perhaps trying an experiment in dialectics. Nothing can be more fallacious than the contradiction which he pretends to have discovered in the answers of Gorgias (see Analysis). The advantages which he gains over Polus are also due to a false antithesis of pleasure and good, and to an erroneous assertion that an agent and a patient may be described by similar predicates;—a mistake which Aristotle partly shares and partly corrects in the Nicomachean Ethics, V. i. 4; xi. 2. Traces of a ‘robust sophistry’ are likewise discernible in his argument with Callicles (pp. 490, 496, 516).

It is scarcely necessary to repeat that Plato is playing ‘both sides of the game,’ and that in criticising the characters of Gorgias and Polus, we are not passing any judgment on historical individuals, but only attempting to analyze the ‘dramatis personae’ as they were conceived by him. Neither is it necessary to enlarge upon the obvious fact that Plato is a dramatic writer, whose real opinions cannot always be assumed to be those which he puts into the mouth of Socrates, or any other speaker who appears to have the best of the argument; or to repeat the observation that he is a poet as well as a philosopher; or to remark that he is not to be tried by a modern standard, but interpreted with reference to his place in the history of thought and the opinion of his time.

Plato, Gorgias essay on Essay Tree

Dive deep into Plato's Gorgias with extended analysis, commentary, and discussion

By pairing translations of Gorgias and Rhetoric, along with an outstanding introductory essay, Joe Sachs demonstrates Aristotles response to Plato. If in the Gorgias Plato probes the question of what is problematic in rhetoric, in Rhetoric, Aristotle continues the thread by looking at what makes rhetoric useful. By juxtaposing the two texts, an interesting "conversation" is illuminated—one which students of philosophy and rhetoric will find key in their analytical pursuits.

The myths of Plato are a phenomenon unique in literature. There are four longer ones: these occur in the Phaedrus (244–256), Phaedo (110–115), Gorgias (523–527), and Republic (x. 614–621). That in the Republic is the most elaborate and finished of them. Three of these greater myths, namely those contained in the Phaedo, the Gorgias and the Republic, relate to the destiny of human souls in a future life. The magnificent myth in the Phaedrus treats of the immortality, or rather the eternity of the soul, in which is included a former as well as a future state of existence. To these may be added, (1) the myth, or rather fable, occurring in the Statesman (268–274), in which the life of innocence is contrasted with the ordinary life of man and the consciousness of evil: (2) the legend of the Island of Atlantis, an imaginary history, which is a fragment only, commenced in the Timaeus (21–26) and continued in the Critias: (3) the much less artistic fiction of the foundation of the Cretan colony which is introduced in the preface to the Laws (iii. 702), but soon falls into the background: (4) the beautiful but rather artificial tale of Prometheus and Epimetheus narrated in his rhetorical manner by Protagoras in the dialogue called after him (320–328): (5) the speech at the beginning of the Phaedrus (231–234), which is a parody of the orator Lysias; the rival speech of Socrates and the recantation of it (237–241). To these may be added (6) the tale of the grasshoppers, and (7) the tale of Thamus and of Theuth, both in the Phaedrus (259 and 274–5): (8) the parable of the Cave (Rep. vii. ), in which the previous argument is recapitulated, and the nature and degrees of knowledge having been previously set forth in the abstract are represented in a picture: (9) the fiction of the earthborn men (Rep. iii. 414; cp. Laws ii. 664), in which by the adaptation of an old tradition Plato makes a new beginning for his society: (10) the myth of Aristophanes respecting the division of the sexes, Sym. 189: (11) the parable of the noble captain, the pilot, and the mutinous sailors (Rep. vi. 488), in which is represented the relation of the better part of the world, and of the philosopher, to the mob of politicians: (12) the ironical tale of the pilot who plies between Athens and Aegina charging only a small payment for saving men from death, the reason being that he is uncertain whether to live or die is better for them (Gor. 511): (13) the treatment of freemen and citizens by physicians and of slaves by their apprentices,—a somewhat laboured figure of speech intended to illustrate the two different ways in which the laws speak to men (Laws iv. 720). There also occur in Plato continuous images; some of them extend over several pages, appearing and reappearing at intervals: such as the bees stinging and stingless (paupers and thieves) in the Eighth Book of the Republic (554), who are generated in the transition from timocracy to oligarchy: the sun, which is to the visible world what the idea of good is to the intellectual, in the Sixth Book of the Republic (508–9): the composite animal, having the form of a man, but containing under a human skin a lion and a many-headed monster (Rep. ix. 588–9): the great beast (vi. 493), i.e. the populace: and the wild beast within us, meaning the passions which are always liable to break out (ix. 571): the animated comparisons of the degradation of philosophy by the arts to the dishonoured maiden (vi. 495–6), and of the tyrant to the parricide, who ‘beats his father, having first taken away his arms’ (viii. 569): the dog, who is your only philosopher (ii. 376 B): the grotesque and rather paltry image of the argument wandering about without a head (Laws vi. 752), which is repeated, not improved, from the Gorgias (509 D): the argument personified as veiling her face (Rep. vi. 503 A), as engaged in a chase (iv. 427 C), as breaking upon us in a first, second and third wave (v. 457 C, 472 A, 473 C):—on these figures of speech the changes are rung many times over. It is observable that nearly all these parables or continuous images are found in the Republic; that which occurs in the Theaetetus (149 ff.), of the midwifery of Socrates, is perhaps the only exception. To make the list complete, the mathematical figure of the number of the state (Rep. viii. 546), or the numerical interval which separates king from tyrant (ix. 587–8), should not be forgotten.

Plato's Gorgias: Literally Tr., with an Introductory Essay, Containing a ..
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