Plato Essay

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Daniela Manrique ENG 3050 Dr. Lopez 28 July 2010 The Sophists, Gorgias and Plato Introduction Throughout the introductory study of rhetoric, the iconic Plato, the controversial Sophists and the well-known Platonic text Gorgias cannot be missed. These three early Greek elements are essential for the proper understanding of rhetoric and its origins, Moreover, it is imperative to comprehend why the sophists were controversial during their time and are still studied and analyzed today. As it will be described, Gorgias was a fictional text written by Plato that challenged sophistic practices and beliefs in politics, oratory and education. The reader must keep in mind that the versions of a translated Gorgias today differ due to their different interpreters. Thus, scholarly bias should always be kept in mind. Who were the Sophists? Historically, rhetorical education was primarily introduced to Ancient Greece by the sophists in the mid 5th century B.C. The sophists, mainly known as a group of speakers, instructors and advocates, were provincial Greeks who migrated into Athens looking for employment in the areas of speech writing, oration, and education of rhetoric. It is obscurely believed that “the Sophists were the first to infuse rhetoric with life” (Poulakos 36). There were three main groups of sophists. One group of the sophists consisted of “logographos”, which in other words, were professional speech writers. Another group was made up of instructors who taught public speaking and ran their own schools, and the last group of sophists was made up of professional orators, either for political or entertainment purposes . Although it may not seem out of the ordinary for educators to charge for their services, 5th century BC Ancient Greeks were unaccustomed to this belief, and thus became suspicious of the sophists true intentions. Taken into account that

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