A Tainted Dialogue

The Gorgias by Plato has long been considered a disparaging dialogue that denounces both rhetoric and its practitioners for the unethical wielding of eloquence. However, numerous scholars have agreed that Plato's account of rhetoric is both incomplete and deceptive. George Kennedy, a Platonic scholar, asserts that Plato was incapable of perceiving the value of rhetoric; "rather embittered by Socrates' death, he is so prejudiced he appears to weight the scales in turn against rhetoric" (qtd. in Kastely 29). This allegation implies that Plato may have allowed his antagonistic stance on rhetoric to influence both the content and philosophical accuracy of the Gorgias. The philosophy of Socrates, Plato's beloved teacher, and the philosophy of Gorgias, an esteemed Leontinian Sophist, come into conflict and thus are showcased in the dialogue. Unfortunately, Plato misrepresents both Gorgias the Sophist and Gorgianic rhetoric in his stigmatizing dialogue, the Gorgias.

Plato's deliberate prevarication of Gorgias and his techn is a consequence of his disdain for Sophists; furthermore, this prejudice is manifest in the dialogue. Plato accused Sophists of promulgating deception, evasiveness, and exploiting language...

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