Socrates on rhetoric

The Socratic Dialogue is an interesting reading about the definition and use of rhetoric. In my opinion rhetoric is the game of words; an artificer of persuasion that creates belief about just among the masses. The rhetoricians convince men that his point of view is true, therefore he should be true. I think the Socratic Dialogue provides a clash between just and unjust use of rhetoric. Rhetoric is a manipulation of words for achievement of the goal but that goal should be just. The rhetorician then must be a just man, and rhetoric is a just thing. The just action has a just effect therefore if someone does wrong he must be punished for it because he will be miserable if he suffers than if he escapes. The eradication of evil and unjust action is essential to temperate soul and for man’s salvation. Socrates believes that death is not evil but to do wrong is the greatest of evils, and to suffer wrong is the next greatest evil so it is better to suffer than to do injustice. The only real evil is moral evil and it should be the goal of one’s life to live a life that is free of guilt that can only happen with true repentance.  Man should explore his real nature and true art assist in the exploration of the truth of life. Therefore truth is the first and last parameter of successful life.

He is right that one is responsible for his deeds. The greatest power of man is to turn his actions in to his advantage. Socrates is against unjustified action as it brings misery. If man commits unjust action he should be punished for that as injustice is the greatest evil for society in general and for soul in particular. Suffering unjust and intemperate is more painful than to be poor and sick. For the suffering of injustice is not the part of a man, but of a slave, who indeed had better die than live. Man should have three qualities–knowledge, good-will, outspokenness. A man should be temperate and master of himself, and ruler of his own pleasures and passions. All our actions are to be done for the sake of the good. True rhetoric aims at the training and improvement of the souls of the citizens.

Socrates answers back Lysias’s argument on love by presenting the negative influences of the lover. Love, or eros, is a form of madness that destroys both the soul and body of the lover. The soul is compared with a chariot with two horses and a charioteer that  grows  wings and fly through the heavens to catch sight of such true Ideas as Beauty and Self-Knowledge .

In  Antidosis Socrates says that to persuade each other and to make clear to each other whatever we desire tells us the importance of speech, we shall find that none of the things which are done with intelligence take place without the help of speech. Speech is our guide in all our actions and thoughts.

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