Plato’s Gorgias Dialogue On The Power Of Rhetoric

Dialogue Gorgias by Plato consists of three conversations of Socrates: with Gorgias himself, with Polus, and with Callicles. With Gorgias, the discussion is about rhetoric, and Socrates directly and reasonably expresses his critical attitude toward him. With his friend Polus, Socrates argues on servility, the power of orators and tyrants, justice, and injustice. With the clever and selfish Callicles, Socrates raises the same questions.

In this critical writing, I will highlight the discussion between Socrates and Gorgias on the power of rhetoric. According to Plato (2008), Socrates suggests that belief is true and false, and knowledge can only be accurate but not false; however, conviction is possessed by those who know and those who have believed. For instance, the rhetoric in courts and other gatherings convinces people of justice and injustice based on belief. Hence, a rhetorician is a master of persuasion that instills faith in the just and the unjust, rather than teaching what is just and what is not; because the crowd could not comprehend such essential things in such a short time.

Thus, Socrates asks about what, with the help of eloquence, people can advise the state. After all, if you need to build something, the builders consult about it, not the orators; and when it is necessary to choose a military strategist, people who are well versed in military affairs consult about this, but not orators. Gorgias answers this – in both cases, the orators give advice, and their opinions win in disputes. Socrates is amazed – at what the power of this art should be! Gorgias agrees – yes, it has collected and held in its hands all arts forces.

I believe that rhetoric, as a science, studies all aspects of literate and technically correct speech and has a powerful force of persuasion. During Socrates and Gorgias reasoning, the reader understands that with the help of this power, it is possible to control the state and the crowd. Therefore, I agree with Gorgias and Socrates that rhetoric is so powerful that it rules all the arts.


Plato. (2008). The Project Gutenberg EBook of Gorgias. Trans. Benjamin Jowett. [Ebook #1672].