Rhetoric like any herculean tool, it can be embezzled.

Rhetoric was an important part of Greco-Roman learning, for it accredited politicians and others
who spoke in public to lure their clientele in an competent and efficacious manner. However, there
was (and still is) a jeopardy analogous with this art because, like any herculean tool, it can be
embezzled. Just as a moralistic person can employ it to perpetrate good, so can an evil one use it to
do the contradictory. The attributes of rhetoric was of interest to Plato, and he wrote about it in the
Gorgias. The focus of this essay is to establish that Socrates successfully refutes the position of his
opponent; Gorgias.

Most of the scenes of Gorgias occur in Calicoes(Gorgias’ host) house. As Socrates first interrogates
Gorgias, the later sanguinely promises to answer any question that may be posed. When designation
of his art and what he calls himself is put to question by Socrates, Gorgias goes on to reply that he is
a rhetorician and practices rhetoric.Socrates believes that his question necessitate a simple answer,
to the contrary, this is not so. Progressing with the questioning, Socrates exactly discover what
Gorgias does.

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Socrates goes on to ask Gorgias whether he can coach others to be rhetoricians, and he adduces that
he can.Setting the stage for a more weighty deliberation, the confabulation at this point becomes
deeper and is proceeded by Socrates by taunting Gorgias to continue to reply to his questions as
brevity as possible. Reasserting, Gorgias cons-cures, that he is a master of the brief style of
speaking and that nobody can speak more concisely than he does. Socrates questions, “With what
particular thing is its rhetoric’s skill concerned?” (449D).1 Gorgias responds, “With

speech” (449D); Keeping faithful to his commitment of transience. Socrates, scrutinises and
continues to asks whether it is rhetoric that deals with every kind of speech. Gorgias answers that it
does not, but that it allows men to speak and to fathom what they say. Socrates contemplates since
he is still not convinced that other arts, such as gymnastics and medicine, use speech and that their
practitioners deduce what they say about their disciplines. He goes on to questions , “Why then,
pray, do you not give the name ‘rhetorical’ to those other arts, when they are concerned with speech,
if you call ‘rhetoric’ which has to do with speech?” (450B). Gorgias replies, “Because, Socrates, the
skill in those other arts is almost wholly concerned with manual work and similar activities,
whereas in rhetoric there is no such manual working, but its whole activity and efficacy is by means
of speech” (450B-C).
Though appearing to be an impressive answer, Socrates progressively maintains that Gorgias still
has not quite apprehended rhetoric’s essence. In his refutation, he says that with very little or no
manual labor, arts like geometry and arithmetic, use speech and when confronted with what subject
is dealt with by rhetorical speech, he replies, “The greatest of human affairs, Socrates, and the
best” (451D). Indicating that this answer is no good to the question, Socrates believes that since
other professionals would say that their arts are concerned with the greater good for mankind. In the
words of Scott, “Praise doesn’t define it” (1).
The zeal of not giving up, making Socrates patiently pose another question to Gorgias. He questions
him about what rhetoric produces, and Gorgias replies that it is persuasion. He continues to
maintain hat rhetoric enables a man to persuade judges, members of the assembly, and others that
deal with governmental issues. He also gloats that by using the power of refutation, a rhetorician
can have anyone he wants as his slave. Socrates, begins to feel confident that Gorgias is close to
revealing his concept of rhetoric, synthesises what he has said about it thus far. As he understands it,
Gorgias believes that rhetoric produces persuasion and nothing else. When asked if this is correct,
he agrees.
Succeeding this, Socrates desires to know the discipline of persuasion in general and the true nature
of rhetorical persuasion. He points out to Gorgias that arts besides rhetoric persuade, such as
teaching. Gorgias does not deny this and when asked what type of persuasion rhetoric brings about,
he replies that it is the kind that is used in public meetings and courts and that it is concerned with
justice and injustice.Here is the starting of Socrates being successful in refuting his opposition.
To win his point, Socrates explains Gorgias that he is not harassing him and then continues his
examination to illuminate the issues at hand, for he wants to avoid any misapprehension.Here we

see how Socrates uses rhetoric himself to ensure that he manages to refute the point of Gorgias. He
probes him whether there is a difference between knowledge and belief, and Gorgias states that the
two are different. He comes to agreement with Socrates that persuasion is used both in prompting
someone to learn something and in swaying one to a particular belief. Here is where Socrates starts
refuting his opponent. Socrates suggests that there must be two kinds of persuasion, one that
produces knowledge and another that causes belief, Gorgias agrees. Socrates then asks him to state
the type of persuasion produced by a rhetorician at a public meeting or in a court, to which Gorgias
replies that it is the one that brings about contention. Therefore, Socrates asserts, “Thus rhetoric, it
seems, is a producer of persuasion for belief, not for instruction in the matter of right and

wrong” (455A). Gorgias grants that this is true. Here, is when he concretes his point of refutation.
Socrates now states that he wants to sort out exactly what has been said so far about rhetoric and
asks Gorgias to imagine that he is being questioned by prospective pupils concerning what they will
learn from him. Relating enthusiastically Gorgias, considers the great power to rhetoric of a
particular note, he states that he has gone with his brother, a physician, many times on his rounds
and has been able to persuade his patients to submit to treatment when his brother could not. He
declares that a rhetorician can speak before a crowd more persuasively than anyone else but should
not use his art improperly. Furthermore, when a rhetorician abuses the power of rhetoric, his teacher
should not be blamed because he imparts his knowledge to be used correctly.

When Gorgias is finished, Socrates asks him whether he wants to continue. He does so because he
feels that Gorgias has made some claims that are not in coherence with what he had said earlier and
he does not want the situation to turn unattractive. Gorgias concedes to proceed. Socrates’ position
at the end of their discussion can be summarised thus: a rhetorician has no knowledge, produces
only empty beliefs, and uses his skill with words as “a tool of power and pleasure” (Scott 1).Hence
making Socrates defeat the point of Gorgias.

Gorgias appears to be a fine master of high moral dignity. He surly is a doctor at speaking and
cognisant of his responsibility not to use his craft unethically. Perhaps he boasts too much about
what he sees as the powers of rhetoric; but this might be forgiven in part since others were listening,
and we cannot blame him for wanting to attract some business. However, he has not questioned
some aspects of his profession deeply enough, such as its relation to justice and injustice, and this is
his major flaw in the Gorgias and this is what makes him fall flat and Socrates successfully refute
the position of his opponents.
The Mastery of Socrates dialect is displayed in these lines, which not only resembles somewhat like
rhetoric but also Gorgias who shows himself to be an expert rhetorician. For example, he manages
to capture the attention of his audience, like Gorgias, thus displaying the poise and confidence,
thereby vigorously presenting his in a careful manner. Delving into meanings of ideas and concepts
much more deeply than does Gorgias, Socrates proves that the art is rather superficial. All of this is
not to say that he does not use some “tricks.” According to Lanham, “He must create a context
which does not notice words as words” (38). He perfectly manages give prominence to his ideas
rather than to his words, by keeping Gorgias and the others busy thinking about what he says,.The
opposite is true of Gorgias because the way in which he says something is more important than
what he says.
I believe Socrates does successfully refute the position of his opponent in the above lines. Here,
Plato’s Gorgias helps us for an opinion of our own by allowing us to examine the refutation used
against the opponent which has been inter woven by various attitudes. The unequivocally sung
praises, here is represented by Gorgias, while Socrates adheres to be a fine example of one who,
through careful analysis, arrives at a low opinion of it using rhetoric. What merits attention here is
the diametrically opposed views of Gorgias and Socrates.This makes the whole conversation
essential. Most would agree that that Gorgias portrays formal rhetoric is not the phenomenal art it is
to be.However considering it a counterfeit art from him we see its effectiveness as a tool of
persuasion. This tool of persuasion manages to value of rhetoric, as Socrates correctly opposes and
wins it by pointing the importance that we need to know the difference between justice and injustice
so that our actions may be ethically sound and our lives happy. Rhetoric is neither mere knack for

producing pleasure and gratification nor just the formal art of persuasion used by trained
professionals. To persuade others and contemplate them to our point of view. and to make them
listen to us, we are use and learn the element of rhetoric somewhere in our lives.