Gorgias by Plato
Gorgias

Plato Gorgias

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[1]        
[2]        PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: Callicles, Socrates, Chaerephon, Gorgias, Polus.
[3]        
[4]        SCENE: The house of Callicles.
[5]        
[6]        
[7]        CALLICLES: The wise man, as the proverb says, is late for a fray, but not
[8]        for a feast.
[9]        
[10]       SOCRATES: And are we late for a feast?
[11]       
[12]       CALLICLES: Yes, and a delightful feast; for Gorgias has just been
[13]       exhibiting to us many fine things.
[14]       
[15]       SOCRATES: It is not my fault, Callicles; our friend Chaerephon is to
[16]       blame; for he would keep us loitering in the Agora.
[17]       
[18]       CHAEREPHON: Never mind, Socrates; the misfortune of which I have been the
[19]       cause I will also repair; for Gorgias is a friend of mine, and I will make
[20]       him give the exhibition again either now, or, if you prefer, at some other
[21]       time.
[22]       
[23]       CALLICLES: What is the matter, Chaerephon--does Socrates want to hear
[24]       Gorgias?
[25]       
[26]       CHAEREPHON: Yes, that was our intention in coming.
[27]       
[28]       CALLICLES: Come into my house, then; for Gorgias is staying with me, and
[29]       he shall exhibit to you.
[30]       
[31]       SOCRATES: Very good, Callicles; but will he answer our questions? for I
[32]       want to hear from him what is the nature of his art, and what it is which
[33]       he professes and teaches; he may, as you (Chaerephon) suggest, defer the
[34]       exhibition to some other time.
[35]       
[36]       CALLICLES: There is nothing like asking him, Socrates; and indeed to
[37]       answer questions is a part of his exhibition, for he was saying only just
[38]       now, that any one in my house might put any question to him, and that he
[39]       would answer.
[40]       
[41]       SOCRATES: How fortunate! will you ask him, Chaerephon--?
[42]       
[43]       CHAEREPHON: What shall I ask him?
[44]       
[45]       SOCRATES: Ask him who he is.
[46]       
[47]       CHAEREPHON: What do you mean?
[48]       
[49]       SOCRATES: I mean such a question as would elicit from him, if he had been
[50]       a maker of shoes, the answer that he is a cobbler. Do you understand?
[51]       
[52]       CHAEREPHON: I understand, and will ask him: Tell me, Gorgias, is our
[53]       friend Callicles right in saying that you undertake to answer any questions
[54]       which you are asked?
[55]       
[56]       GORGIAS: Quite right, Chaerephon: I was saying as much only just now; and
[57]       I may add, that many years have elapsed since any one has asked me a new
[58]       one.
[59]       
[60]       CHAEREPHON: Then you must be very ready, Gorgias.
[61]       
[62]       GORGIAS: Of that, Chaerephon, you can make trial.
[63]       
[64]       POLUS: Yes, indeed, and if you like, Chaerephon, you may make trial of me
[65]       too, for I think that Gorgias, who has been talking a long time, is tired.
[66]       
[67]       CHAEREPHON: And do you, Polus, think that you can answer better than
[68]       Gorgias?
[69]       
[70]       POLUS: What does that matter if I answer well enough for you?
[71]       
[72]       CHAEREPHON: Not at all:--and you shall answer if you like.
[73]       
[74]       POLUS: Ask:--
[75]       
[76]       CHAEREPHON: My question is this: If Gorgias had the skill of his brother
[77]       Herodicus, what ought we to call him? Ought he not to have the name which
[78]       is given to his brother?
[79]       
[80]       POLUS: Certainly.
[81]       
[82]       CHAEREPHON: Then we should be right in calling him a physician?
[83]       
[84]       POLUS: Yes.
[85]       
[86]       CHAEREPHON: And if he had the skill of Aristophon the son of Aglaophon, or
[87]       of his brother Polygnotus, what ought we to call him?
[88]       
[89]       POLUS: Clearly, a painter.
[90]       
[91]       CHAEREPHON: But now what shall we call him--what is the art in which he is
[92]       skilled.
[93]       
[94]       POLUS: O Chaerephon, there are many arts among mankind which are
[95]       experimental, and have their origin in experience, for experience makes the
[96]       days of men to proceed according to art, and inexperience according to
[97]       chance, and different persons in different ways are proficient in different
[98]       arts, and the best persons in the best arts. And our friend Gorgias is one
[99]       of the best, and the art in which he is a proficient is the noblest.
[100]      
[101]      SOCRATES: Polus has been taught how to make a capital speech, Gorgias; but
[102]      he is not fulfilling the promise which he made to Chaerephon.
[103]      
[104]      GORGIAS: What do you mean, Socrates?
[105]      
[106]      SOCRATES: I mean that he has not exactly answered the question which he
[107]      was asked.
[108]      
[109]      GORGIAS: Then why not ask him yourself?
[110]      
[111]      SOCRATES: But I would much rather ask you, if you are disposed to answer:
[112]      for I see, from the few words which Polus has uttered, that he has attended
[113]      more to the art which is called rhetoric than to dialectic.
[114]      
[115]      POLUS: What makes you say so, Socrates?
[116]      
[117]      SOCRATES: Because, Polus, when Chaerephon asked you what was the art which
[118]      Gorgias knows, you praised it as if you were answering some one who found
[119]      fault with it, but you never said what the art was.
[120]      
[121]      POLUS: Why, did I not say that it was the noblest of arts?
[122]      
[123]      SOCRATES: Yes, indeed, but that was no answer to the question: nobody
[124]      asked what was the quality, but what was the nature, of the art, and by
[125]      what name we were to describe Gorgias. And I would still beg you briefly
[126]      and clearly, as you answered Chaerephon when he asked you at first, to say
[127]      what this art is, and what we ought to call Gorgias: Or rather, Gorgias,
[128]      let me turn to you, and ask the same question,--what are we to call you,
[129]      and what is the art which you profess?
[130]      
[131]      GORGIAS: Rhetoric, Socrates, is my art.
[132]      
[133]      SOCRATES: Then I am to call you a rhetorician?
[134]      
[135]      GORGIAS: Yes, Socrates, and a good one too, if you would call me that
[136]      which, in Homeric language, 'I boast myself to be.'
[137]      
[138]      SOCRATES: I should wish to do so.
[139]      
[140]      GORGIAS: Then pray do.
[141]      
[142]      SOCRATES: And are we to say that you are able to make other men
[143]      rhetoricians?
[144]      
[145]      GORGIAS: Yes, that is exactly what I profess to make them, not only at
[146]      Athens, but in all places.
[147]      
[148]      SOCRATES: And will you continue to ask and answer questions, Gorgias, as
[149]      we are at present doing, and reserve for another occasion the longer mode
[150]      of speech which Polus was attempting? Will you keep your promise, and
[151]      answer shortly the questions which are asked of you?
[152]      
[153]      GORGIAS: Some answers, Socrates, are of necessity longer; but I will do my
[154]      best to make them as short as possible; for a part of my profession is that
[155]      I can be as short as any one.
[156]      
[157]      SOCRATES: That is what is wanted, Gorgias; exhibit the shorter method now,
[158]      and the longer one at some other time.
[159]      
[160]      GORGIAS: Well, I will; and you will certainly say, that you never heard a
[161]      man use fewer words.
[162]      
[163]      SOCRATES: Very good then; as you profess to be a rhetorician, and a maker
[164]      of rhetoricians, let me ask you, with what is rhetoric concerned: I might
[165]      ask with what is weaving concerned, and you would reply (would you not?),
[166]      with the making of garments?
[167]      
[168]      GORGIAS: Yes.
[169]      
[170]      SOCRATES: And music is concerned with the composition of melodies?
[171]      
[172]      GORGIAS: It is.
[173]      
[174]      SOCRATES: By Here, Gorgias, I admire the surpassing brevity of your
[175]      answers.
[176]      
[177]      GORGIAS: Yes, Socrates, I do think myself good at that.
[178]      
[179]      SOCRATES: I am glad to hear it; answer me in like manner about rhetoric:
[180]      with what is rhetoric concerned?
[181]      
[182]      GORGIAS: With discourse.
[183]      
[184]      SOCRATES: What sort of discourse, Gorgias?--such discourse as would teach
[185]      the sick under what treatment they might get well?
[186]      
[187]      GORGIAS: No.
[188]      
[189]      SOCRATES: Then rhetoric does not treat of all kinds of discourse?
[190]      
[191]      GORGIAS: Certainly not.
[192]      
[193]      SOCRATES: And yet rhetoric makes men able to speak?
[194]      
[195]      GORGIAS: Yes.
[196]      
[197]      SOCRATES: And to understand that about which they speak?
[198]      
[199]      GORGIAS: Of course.
[200]      
[201]      SOCRATES: But does not the art of medicine, which we were just now
[202]      mentioning, also make men able to understand and speak about the sick?
[203]      
[204]      GORGIAS: Certainly.
[205]      
[206]      SOCRATES: Then medicine also treats of discourse?
[207]      
[208]      GORGIAS: Yes.
[209]      
[210]      SOCRATES: Of discourse concerning diseases?
[211]      
[212]      GORGIAS: Just so.
[213]      
[214]      SOCRATES: And does not gymnastic also treat of discourse concerning the
[215]      good or evil condition of the body?
[216]      
[217]      GORGIAS: Very true.
[218]      
[219]      SOCRATES: And the same, Gorgias, is true of the other arts:--all of them
[220]      treat of discourse concerning the subjects with which they severally have
[221]      to do.
[222]      
[223]      GORGIAS: Clearly.
[224]      
[225]      SOCRATES: Then why, if you call rhetoric the art which treats of
[226]      discourse, and all the other arts treat of discourse, do you not call them
[227]      arts of rhetoric?
[228]      
[229]      GORGIAS: Because, Socrates, the knowledge of the other arts has only to do
[230]      with some sort of external action, as of the hand; but there is no such
[231]      action of the hand in rhetoric which works and takes effect only through
[232]      the medium of discourse. And therefore I am justified in saying that
[233]      rhetoric treats of discourse.
[234]      
[235]      SOCRATES: I am not sure whether I entirely understand you, but I dare say
[236]      I shall soon know better; please to answer me a question:--you would allow
[237]      that there are arts?
[238]      
[239]      GORGIAS: Yes.
[240]      
[241]      SOCRATES: As to the arts generally, they are for the most part concerned
[242]      with doing, and require little or no speaking; in painting, and statuary,
[243]      and many other arts, the work may proceed in silence; and of such arts I
[244]      suppose you would say that they do not come within the province of
[245]      rhetoric.
[246]      
[247]      GORGIAS: You perfectly conceive my meaning, Socrates.
[248]      
[249]      SOCRATES: But there are other arts which work wholly through the medium of
[250]      language, and require either no action or very little, as, for example, the
[251]      arts of arithmetic, of calculation, of geometry, and of playing draughts;
[252]      in some of these speech is pretty nearly co-extensive with action, but in
[253]      most of them the verbal element is greater--they depend wholly on words for
[254]      their efficacy and power: and I take your meaning to be that rhetoric is
[255]      an art of this latter sort?
[256]      
[257]      GORGIAS: Exactly.
[258]      
[259]      SOCRATES: And yet I do not believe that you really mean to call any of
[260]      these arts rhetoric; although the precise expression which you used was,
[261]      that rhetoric is an art which works and takes effect only through the
[262]      medium of discourse; and an adversary who wished to be captious might say,
[263]      'And so, Gorgias, you call arithmetic rhetoric.' But I do not think that
[264]      you really call arithmetic rhetoric any more than geometry would be so
[265]      called by you.
[266]      
[267]      GORGIAS: You are quite right, Socrates, in your apprehension of my
[268]      meaning.
[269]      
[270]      SOCRATES: Well, then, let me now have the rest of my answer:--seeing that
[271]      rhetoric is one of those arts which works mainly by the use of words, and
[272]      there are other arts which also use words, tell me what is that quality in
[273]      words with which rhetoric is concerned:--Suppose that a person asks me
[274]      about some of the arts which I was mentioning just now; he might say,
[275]      'Socrates, what is arithmetic?' and I should reply to him, as you replied
[276]      to me, that arithmetic is one of those arts which take effect through
[277]      words. And then he would proceed to ask: 'Words about what?' and I should
[278]      reply, Words about odd and even numbers, and how many there are of each.
[279]      And if he asked again: 'What is the art of calculation?' I should say,
[280]      That also is one of the arts which is concerned wholly with words. And if
[281]      he further said, 'Concerned with what?' I should say, like the clerks in
[282]      the assembly, 'as aforesaid' of arithmetic, but with a difference, the
[283]      difference being that the art of calculation considers not only the
[284]      quantities of odd and even numbers, but also their numerical relations to
[285]      themselves and to one another. And suppose, again, I were to say that
[286]      astronomy is only words--he would ask, 'Words about what, Socrates?' and I
[287]      should answer, that astronomy tells us about the motions of the stars and
[288]      sun and moon, and their relative swiftness.
[289]      
[290]      GORGIAS: You would be quite right, Socrates.
[291]      
[292]      SOCRATES: And now let us have from you, Gorgias, the truth about rhetoric:
[293]      which you would admit (would you not?) to be one of those arts which act
[294]      always and fulfil all their ends through the medium of words?
[295]      
[296]      GORGIAS: True.
[297]      
[298]      SOCRATES: Words which do what? I should ask. To what class of things do
[299]      the words which rhetoric uses relate?
[300]      
[301]      GORGIAS: To the greatest, Socrates, and the best of human things.
[302]      
[303]      SOCRATES: That again, Gorgias is ambiguous; I am still in the dark: for
[304]      which are the greatest and best of human things? I dare say that you have
[305]      heard men singing at feasts the old drinking song, in which the singers
[306]      enumerate the goods of life, first health, beauty next, thirdly, as the
[307]      writer of the song says, wealth honestly obtained.
[308]      
[309]      GORGIAS: Yes, I know the song; but what is your drift?
[310]      
[311]      SOCRATES: I mean to say, that the producers of those things which the
[312]      author of the song praises, that is to say, the physician, the trainer, the
[313]      money-maker, will at once come to you, and first the physician will say:
[314]      'O Socrates, Gorgias is deceiving you, for my art is concerned with the
[315]      greatest good of men and not his.' And when I ask, Who are you? he will
[316]      reply, 'I am a physician.' What do you mean? I shall say. Do you mean
[317]      that your art produces the greatest good? 'Certainly,' he will answer,
[318]      'for is not health the greatest good? What greater good can men have,
[319]      Socrates?' And after him the trainer will come and say, 'I too, Socrates,
[320]      shall be greatly surprised if Gorgias can show more good of his art than I
[321]      can show of mine.' To him again I shall say, Who are you, honest friend,
[322]      and what is your business? 'I am a trainer,' he will reply, 'and my
[323]      business is to make men beautiful and strong in body.' When I have done
[324]      with the trainer, there arrives the money-maker, and he, as I expect, will
[325]      utterly despise them all. 'Consider Socrates,' he will say, 'whether
[326]      Gorgias or any one else can produce any greater good than wealth.' Well,
[327]      you and I say to him, and are you a creator of wealth? 'Yes,' he replies.
[328]      And who are you? 'A money-maker.' And do you consider wealth to be the
[329]      greatest good of man? 'Of course,' will be his reply. And we shall
[330]      rejoin: Yes; but our friend Gorgias contends that his art produces a
[331]      greater good than yours. And then he will be sure to go on and ask, 'What
[332]      good? Let Gorgias answer.' Now I want you, Gorgias, to imagine that this
[333]      question is asked of you by them and by me; What is that which, as you say,
[334]      is the greatest good of man, and of which you are the creator? Answer us.
[335]      
[336]      GORGIAS: That good, Socrates, which is truly the greatest, being that
[337]      which gives to men freedom in their own persons, and to individuals the
[338]      power of ruling over others in their several states.
[339]      
[340]      SOCRATES: And what would you consider this to be?
[341]      
[342]      GORGIAS: What is there greater than the word which persuades the judges in
[343]      the courts, or the senators in the council, or the citizens in the
[344]      assembly, or at any other political meeting?--if you have the power of
[345]      uttering this word, you will have the physician your slave, and the trainer
[346]      your slave, and the money-maker of whom you talk will be found to gather
[347]      treasures, not for himself, but for you who are able to speak and to
[348]      persuade the multitude.
[349]      
[350]      SOCRATES: Now I think, Gorgias, that you have very accurately explained
[351]      what you conceive to be the art of rhetoric; and you mean to say, if I am
[352]      not mistaken, that rhetoric is the artificer of persuasion, having this and
[353]      no other business, and that this is her crown and end. Do you know any
[354]      other effect of rhetoric over and above that of producing persuasion?
[355]      
[356]      GORGIAS: No: the definition seems to me very fair, Socrates; for
[357]      persuasion is the chief end of rhetoric.
[358]      
[359]      SOCRATES: Then hear me, Gorgias, for I am quite sure that if there ever
[360]      was a man who entered on the discussion of a matter from a pure love of
[361]      knowing the truth, I am such a one, and I should say the same of you.
[362]      
[363]      GORGIAS: What is coming, Socrates?
[364]      
[365]      SOCRATES: I will tell you: I am very well aware that I do not know what,
[366]      according to you, is the exact nature, or what are the topics of that
[367]      persuasion of which you speak, and which is given by rhetoric; although I
[368]      have a suspicion about both the one and the other. And I am going to ask--
[369]      what is this power of persuasion which is given by rhetoric, and about
[370]      what? But why, if I have a suspicion, do I ask instead of telling you?
[371]      Not for your sake, but in order that the argument may proceed in such a
[372]      manner as is most likely to set forth the truth. And I would have you
[373]      observe, that I am right in asking this further question: If I asked,
[374]      'What sort of a painter is Zeuxis?' and you said, 'The painter of figures,'
[375]      should I not be right in asking, 'What kind of figures, and where do you
[376]      find them?'
[377]      
[378]      GORGIAS: Certainly.
[379]      
[380]      SOCRATES: And the reason for asking this second question would be, that
[381]      there are other painters besides, who paint many other figures?
[382]      
[383]      GORGIAS: True.
[384]      
[385]      SOCRATES: But if there had been no one but Zeuxis who painted them, then
[386]      you would have answered very well?
[387]      
[388]      GORGIAS: Quite so.
[389]      
[390]      SOCRATES: Now I want to know about rhetoric in the same way;--is rhetoric
[391]      the only art which brings persuasion, or do other arts have the same
[392]      effect? I mean to say--Does he who teaches anything persuade men of that
[393]      which he teaches or not?
[394]      
[395]      GORGIAS: He persuades, Socrates,--there can be no mistake about that.
[396]      
[397]      SOCRATES: Again, if we take the arts of which we were just now speaking:--
[398]      do not arithmetic and the arithmeticians teach us the properties of number?
[399]      
[400]      GORGIAS: Certainly.
[401]      
[402]      SOCRATES: And therefore persuade us of them?
[403]      
[404]      GORGIAS: Yes.
[405]      
[406]      SOCRATES: Then arithmetic as well as rhetoric is an artificer of
[407]      persuasion?
[408]      
[409]      GORGIAS: Clearly.
[410]      
[411]      SOCRATES: And if any one asks us what sort of persuasion, and about what,
[412]      --we shall answer, persuasion which teaches the quantity of odd and even;
[413]      and we shall be able to show that all the other arts of which we were just
[414]      now speaking are artificers of persuasion, and of what sort, and about
[415]      what.
[416]      
[417]      GORGIAS: Very true.
[418]      
[419]      SOCRATES: Then rhetoric is not the only artificer of persuasion?
[420]      
[421]      GORGIAS: True.
[422]      
[423]      SOCRATES: Seeing, then, that not only rhetoric works by persuasion, but
[424]      that other arts do the same, as in the case of the painter, a question has
[425]      arisen which is a very fair one: Of what persuasion is rhetoric the
[426]      artificer, and about what?--is not that a fair way of putting the question?
[427]      
[428]      GORGIAS: I think so.
[429]      
[430]      SOCRATES: Then, if you approve the question, Gorgias, what is the answer?
[431]      
[432]      GORGIAS: I answer, Socrates, that rhetoric is the art of persuasion in
[433]      courts of law and other assemblies, as I was just now saying, and about the
[434]      just and unjust.
[435]      
[436]      SOCRATES: And that, Gorgias, was what I was suspecting to be your notion;
[437]      yet I would not have you wonder if by-and-by I am found repeating a
[438]      seemingly plain question; for I ask not in order to confute you, but as I
[439]      was saying that the argument may proceed consecutively, and that we may not
[440]      get the habit of anticipating and suspecting the meaning of one another's
[441]      words; I would have you develope your own views in your own way, whatever
[442]      may be your hypothesis.
[443]      
[444]      GORGIAS: I think that you are quite right, Socrates.
[445]      
[446]      SOCRATES: Then let me raise another question; there is such a thing as
[447]      'having learned'?
[448]      
[449]      GORGIAS: Yes.
[450]      
[451]      SOCRATES: And there is also 'having believed'?
[452]      
[453]      GORGIAS: Yes.
[454]      
[455]      SOCRATES: And is the 'having learned' the same as 'having believed,' and
[456]      are learning and belief the same things?
[457]      
[458]      GORGIAS: In my judgment, Socrates, they are not the same.
[459]      
[460]      SOCRATES: And your judgment is right, as you may ascertain in this way:--
[461]      If a person were to say to you, 'Is there, Gorgias, a false belief as well
[462]      as a true?'--you would reply, if I am not mistaken, that there is.
[463]      
[464]      GORGIAS: Yes.
[465]      
[466]      SOCRATES: Well, but is there a false knowledge as well as a true?
[467]      
[468]      GORGIAS: No.
[469]      
[470]      SOCRATES: No, indeed; and this again proves that knowledge and belief
[471]      differ.
[472]      
[473]      GORGIAS: Very true.
[474]      
[475]      SOCRATES: And yet those who have learned as well as those who have
[476]      believed are persuaded?
[477]      
[478]      GORGIAS: Just so.
[479]      
[480]      SOCRATES: Shall we then assume two sorts of persuasion,--one which is the
[481]      source of belief without knowledge, as the other is of knowledge?
[482]      
[483]      GORGIAS: By all means.
[484]      
[485]      SOCRATES: And which sort of persuasion does rhetoric create in courts of
[486]      law and other assemblies about the just and unjust, the sort of persuasion
[487]      which gives belief without knowledge, or that which gives knowledge?
[488]      
[489]      GORGIAS: Clearly, Socrates, that which only gives belief.
[490]      
[491]      SOCRATES: Then rhetoric, as would appear, is the artificer of a persuasion
[492]      which creates belief about the just and unjust, but gives no instruction
[493]      about them?
[494]      
[495]      GORGIAS: True.
[496]      
[497]      SOCRATES: And the rhetorician does not instruct the courts of law or other
[498]      assemblies about things just and unjust, but he creates belief about them;
[499]      for no one can be supposed to instruct such a vast multitude about such
[500]      high matters in a short time?
[501]      
[502]      GORGIAS: Certainly not.
[503]      
[504]      SOCRATES: Come, then, and let us see what we really mean about rhetoric;
[505]      for I do not know what my own meaning is as yet. When the assembly meets
[506]      to elect a physician or a shipwright or any other craftsman, will the
[507]      rhetorician be taken into counsel? Surely not. For at every election he
[508]      ought to be chosen who is most skilled; and, again, when walls have to be
[509]      built or harbours or docks to be constructed, not the rhetorician but the
[510]      master workman will advise; or when generals have to be chosen and an order
[511]      of battle arranged, or a position taken, then the military will advise and
[512]      not the rhetoricians: what do you say, Gorgias? Since you profess to be a
[513]      rhetorician and a maker of rhetoricians, I cannot do better than learn the
[514]      nature of your art from you. And here let me assure you that I have your
[515]      interest in view as well as my own. For likely enough some one or other of
[516]      the young men present might desire to become your pupil, and in fact I see
[517]      some, and a good many too, who have this wish, but they would be too modest
[518]      to question you. And therefore when you are interrogated by me, I would
[519]      have you imagine that you are interrogated by them. 'What is the use of
[520]      coming to you, Gorgias?' they will say--'about what will you teach us to
[521]      advise the state?--about the just and unjust only, or about those other
[522]      things also which Socrates has just mentioned?' How will you answer them?
[523]      
[524]      GORGIAS: I like your way of leading us on, Socrates, and I will endeavour
[525]      to reveal to you the whole nature of rhetoric. You must have heard, I
[526]      think, that the docks and the walls of the Athenians and the plan of the
[527]      harbour were devised in accordance with the counsels, partly of
[528]      Themistocles, and partly of Pericles, and not at the suggestion of the
[529]      builders.
[530]      
[531]      SOCRATES: Such is the tradition, Gorgias, about Themistocles; and I myself
[532]      heard the speech of Pericles when he advised us about the middle wall.
[533]      
[534]      GORGIAS: And you will observe, Socrates, that when a decision has to be
[535]      given in such matters the rhetoricians are the advisers; they are the men
[536]      who win their point.
[537]      
[538]      SOCRATES: I had that in my admiring mind, Gorgias, when I asked what is
[539]      the nature of rhetoric, which always appears to me, when I look at the
[540]      matter in this way, to be a marvel of greatness.
[541]      
[542]      GORGIAS: A marvel, indeed, Socrates, if you only knew how rhetoric
[543]      comprehends and holds under her sway all the inferior arts. Let me offer
[544]      you a striking example of this. On several occasions I have been with my
[545]      brother Herodicus or some other physician to see one of his patients, who
[546]      would not allow the physician to give him medicine, or apply the knife or
[547]      hot iron to him; and I have persuaded him to do for me what he would not do
[548]      for the physician just by the use of rhetoric. And I say that if a
[549]      rhetorician and a physician were to go to any city, and had there to argue
[550]      in the Ecclesia or any other assembly as to which of them should be elected
[551]      state-physician, the physician would have no chance; but he who could speak
[552]      would be chosen if he wished; and in a contest with a man of any other
[553]      profession the rhetorician more than any one would have the power of
[554]      getting himself chosen, for he can speak more persuasively to the multitude
[555]      than any of them, and on any subject. Such is the nature and power of the
[556]      art of rhetoric! And yet, Socrates, rhetoric should be used like any other
[557]      competitive art, not against everybody,--the rhetorician ought not to abuse
[558]      his strength any more than a pugilist or pancratiast or other master of
[559]      fence;--because he has powers which are more than a match either for friend
[560]      or enemy, he ought not therefore to strike, stab, or slay his friends.
[561]      Suppose a man to have been trained in the palestra and to be a skilful
[562]      boxer,--he in the fulness of his strength goes and strikes his father or
[563]      mother or one of his familiars or friends; but that is no reason why the
[564]      trainers or fencing-masters should be held in detestation or banished from
[565]      the city;--surely not. For they taught their art for a good purpose, to be
[566]      used against enemies and evil-doers, in self-defence not in aggression, and
[567]      others have perverted their instructions, and turned to a bad use their own
[568]      strength and skill. But not on this account are the teachers bad, neither
[569]      is the art in fault, or bad in itself; I should rather say that those who
[570]      make a bad use of the art are to blame. And the same argument holds good
[571]      of rhetoric; for the rhetorician can speak against all men and upon any
[572]      subject,--in short, he can persuade the multitude better than any other man
[573]      of anything which he pleases, but he should not therefore seek to defraud
[574]      the physician or any other artist of his reputation merely because he has
[575]      the power; he ought to use rhetoric fairly, as he would also use his
[576]      athletic powers. And if after having become a rhetorician he makes a bad
[577]      use of his strength and skill, his instructor surely ought not on that
[578]      account to be held in detestation or banished. For he was intended by his
[579]      teacher to make a good use of his instructions, but he abuses them. And
[580]      therefore he is the person who ought to be held in detestation, banished,
[581]      and put to death, and not his instructor.
[582]      
[583]      SOCRATES: You, Gorgias, like myself, have had great experience of
[584]      disputations, and you must have observed, I think, that they do not always
[585]      terminate in mutual edification, or in the definition by either party of
[586]      the subjects which they are discussing; but disagreements are apt to arise
[587]      --somebody says that another has not spoken truly or clearly; and then they
[588]      get into a passion and begin to quarrel, both parties conceiving that their
[589]      opponents are arguing from personal feeling only and jealousy of
[590]      themselves, not from any interest in the question at issue. And sometimes
[591]      they will go on abusing one another until the company at last are quite
[592]      vexed at themselves for ever listening to such fellows. Why do I say this?
[593]      Why, because I cannot help feeling that you are now saying what is not
[594]      quite consistent or accordant with what you were saying at first about
[595]      rhetoric. And I am afraid to point this out to you, lest you should think
[596]      that I have some animosity against you, and that I speak, not for the sake
[597]      of discovering the truth, but from jealousy of you. Now if you are one of
[598]      my sort, I should like to cross-examine you, but if not I will let you
[599]      alone. And what is my sort? you will ask. I am one of those who are very
[600]      willing to be refuted if I say anything which is not true, and very willing
[601]      to refute any one else who says what is not true, and quite as ready to be
[602]      refuted as to refute; for I hold that this is the greater gain of the two,
[603]      just as the gain is greater of being cured of a very great evil than of
[604]      curing another. For I imagine that there is no evil which a man can endure
[605]      so great as an erroneous opinion about the matters of which we are
[606]      speaking; and if you claim to be one of my sort, let us have the discussion
[607]      out, but if you would rather have done, no matter;--let us make an end of
[608]      it.
[609]      
[610]      GORGIAS: I should say, Socrates, that I am quite the man whom you
[611]      indicate; but, perhaps, we ought to consider the audience, for, before you
[612]      came, I had already given a long exhibition, and if we proceed the argument
[613]      may run on to a great length. And therefore I think that we should
[614]      consider whether we may not be detaining some part of the company when they
[615]      are wanting to do something else.
[616]      
[617]      CHAEREPHON: You hear the audience cheering, Gorgias and Socrates, which
[618]      shows their desire to listen to you; and for myself, Heaven forbid that I
[619]      should have any business on hand which would take me away from a discussion
[620]      so interesting and so ably maintained.
[621]      
[622]      CALLICLES: By the gods, Chaerephon, although I have been present at many
[623]      discussions, I doubt whether I was ever so much delighted before, and
[624]      therefore if you go on discoursing all day I shall be the better pleased.
[625]      
[626]      SOCRATES: I may truly say, Callicles, that I am willing, if Gorgias is.
[627]      
[628]      GORGIAS: After all this, Socrates, I should be disgraced if I refused,
[629]      especially as I have promised to answer all comers; in accordance with the
[630]      wishes of the company, then, do you begin. and ask of me any question
[631]      which you like.
[632]      
[633]      SOCRATES: Let me tell you then, Gorgias, what surprises me in your words;
[634]      though I dare say that you may be right, and I may have misunderstood your
[635]      meaning. You say that you can make any man, who will learn of you, a
[636]      rhetorician?
[637]      
[638]      GORGIAS: Yes.
[639]      
[640]      SOCRATES: Do you mean that you will teach him to gain the ears of the
[641]      multitude on any subject, and this not by instruction but by persuasion?
[642]      
[643]      GORGIAS: Quite so.
[644]      
[645]      SOCRATES: You were saying, in fact, that the rhetorician will have greater
[646]      powers of persuasion than the physician even in a matter of health?
[647]      
[648]      GORGIAS: Yes, with the multitude,--that is.
[649]      
[650]      SOCRATES: You mean to say, with the ignorant; for with those who know he
[651]      cannot be supposed to have greater powers of persuasion.
[652]      
[653]      GORGIAS: Very true.
[654]      
[655]      SOCRATES: But if he is to have more power of persuasion than the
[656]      physician, he will have greater power than he who knows?
[657]      
[658]      GORGIAS: Certainly.
[659]      
[660]      SOCRATES: Although he is not a physician:--is he?
[661]      
[662]      GORGIAS: No.
[663]      
[664]      SOCRATES: And he who is not a physician must, obviously, be ignorant of
[665]      what the physician knows.
[666]      
[667]      GORGIAS: Clearly.
[668]      
[669]      SOCRATES: Then, when the rhetorician is more persuasive than the
[670]      physician, the ignorant is more persuasive with the ignorant than he who
[671]      has knowledge?--is not that the inference?
[672]      
[673]      GORGIAS: In the case supposed:--yes.
[674]      
[675]      SOCRATES: And the same holds of the relation of rhetoric to all the other
[676]      arts; the rhetorician need not know the truth about things; he has only to
[677]      discover some way of persuading the ignorant that he has more knowledge
[678]      than those who know?
[679]      
[680]      GORGIAS: Yes, Socrates, and is not this a great comfort?--not to have
[681]      learned the other arts, but the art of rhetoric only, and yet to be in no
[682]      way inferior to the professors of them?
[683]      
[684]      SOCRATES: Whether the rhetorician is or not inferior on this account is a
[685]      question which we will hereafter examine if the enquiry is likely to be of
[686]      any service to us; but I would rather begin by asking, whether he is or is
[687]      not as ignorant of the just and unjust, base and honourable, good and evil,
[688]      as he is of medicine and the other arts; I mean to say, does he really know
[689]      anything of what is good and evil, base or honourable, just or unjust in
[690]      them; or has he only a way with the ignorant of persuading them that he not
[691]      knowing is to be esteemed to know more about these things than some one
[692]      else who knows? Or must the pupil know these things and come to you
[693]      knowing them before he can acquire the art of rhetoric? If he is ignorant,
[694]      you who are the teacher of rhetoric will not teach him--it is not your
[695]      business; but you will make him seem to the multitude to know them, when he
[696]      does not know them; and seem to be a good man, when he is not. Or will you
[697]      be unable to teach him rhetoric at all, unless he knows the truth of these
[698]      things first? What is to be said about all this? By heavens, Gorgias, I
[699]      wish that you would reveal to me the power of rhetoric, as you were saying
[700]      that you would.
[701]      
[702]      GORGIAS: Well, Socrates, I suppose that if the pupil does chance not to
[703]      know them, he will have to learn of me these things as well.
[704]      
[705]      SOCRATES: Say no more, for there you are right; and so he whom you make a
[706]      rhetorician must either know the nature of the just and unjust already, or
[707]      he must be taught by you.
[708]      
[709]      GORGIAS: Certainly.
[710]      
[711]      SOCRATES: Well, and is not he who has learned carpentering a carpenter?
[712]      
[713]      GORGIAS: Yes.
[714]      
[715]      SOCRATES: And he who has learned music a musician?
[716]      
[717]      GORGIAS: Yes.
[718]      
[719]      SOCRATES: And he who has learned medicine is a physician, in like manner?
[720]      He who has learned anything whatever is that which his knowledge makes him.
[721]      
[722]      GORGIAS: Certainly.
[723]      
[724]      SOCRATES: And in the same way, he who has learned what is just is just?
[725]      
[726]      GORGIAS: To be sure.
[727]      
[728]      SOCRATES: And he who is just may be supposed to do what is just?
[729]      
[730]      GORGIAS: Yes.
[731]      
[732]      SOCRATES: And must not the just man always desire to do what is just?
[733]      
[734]      GORGIAS: That is clearly the inference.
[735]      
[736]      SOCRATES: Surely, then, the just man will never consent to do injustice?
[737]      
[738]      GORGIAS: Certainly not.
[739]      
[740]      SOCRATES: And according to the argument the rhetorician must be a just
[741]      man?
[742]      
[743]      GORGIAS: Yes.
[744]      
[745]      SOCRATES: And will therefore never be willing to do injustice?
[746]      
[747]      GORGIAS: Clearly not.
[748]      
[749]      SOCRATES: But do you remember saying just now that the trainer is not to
[750]      be accused or banished if the pugilist makes a wrong use of his pugilistic
[751]      art; and in like manner, if the rhetorician makes a bad and unjust use of
[752]      his rhetoric, that is not to be laid to the charge of his teacher, who is
[753]      not to be banished, but the wrong-doer himself who made a bad use of his
[754]      rhetoric--he is to be banished--was not that said?
[755]      
[756]      GORGIAS: Yes, it was.
[757]      
[758]      SOCRATES: But now we are affirming that the aforesaid rhetorician will
[759]      never have done injustice at all?
[760]      
[761]      GORGIAS: True.
[762]      
[763]      SOCRATES: And at the very outset, Gorgias, it was said that rhetoric
[764]      treated of discourse, not (like arithmetic) about odd and even, but about
[765]      just and unjust? Was not this said?
[766]      
[767]      GORGIAS: Yes.
[768]      
[769]      SOCRATES: I was thinking at the time, when I heard you saying so, that
[770]      rhetoric, which is always discoursing about justice, could not possibly be
[771]      an unjust thing. But when you added, shortly afterwards, that the
[772]      rhetorician might make a bad use of rhetoric I noted with surprise the
[773]      inconsistency into which you had fallen; and I said, that if you thought,
[774]      as I did, that there was a gain in being refuted, there would be an
[775]      advantage in going on with the question, but if not, I would leave off.
[776]      And in the course of our investigations, as you will see yourself, the
[777]      rhetorician has been acknowledged to be incapable of making an unjust use
[778]      of rhetoric, or of willingness to do injustice. By the dog, Gorgias, there
[779]      will be a great deal of discussion, before we get at the truth of all this.
[780]      
[781]      POLUS: And do even you, Socrates, seriously believe what you are now
[782]      saying about rhetoric? What! because Gorgias was ashamed to deny that the
[783]      rhetorician knew the just and the honourable and the good, and admitted
[784]      that to any one who came to him ignorant of them he could teach them, and
[785]      then out of this admission there arose a contradiction--the thing which you
[786]      dearly love, and to which not he, but you, brought the argument by your
[787]      captious questions--(do you seriously believe that there is any truth in
[788]      all this?) For will any one ever acknowledge that he does not know, or
[789]      cannot teach, the nature of justice? The truth is, that there is great
[790]      want of manners in bringing the argument to such a pass.
[791]      
[792]      SOCRATES: Illustrious Polus, the reason why we provide ourselves with
[793]      friends and children is, that when we get old and stumble, a younger
[794]      generation may be at hand to set us on our legs again in our words and in
[795]      our actions: and now, if I and Gorgias are stumbling, here are you who
[796]      should raise us up; and I for my part engage to retract any error into
[797]      which you may think that I have fallen-upon one condition:
[798]      
[799]      POLUS: What condition?
[800]      
[801]      SOCRATES: That you contract, Polus, the prolixity of speech in which you
[802]      indulged at first.
[803]      
[804]      POLUS: What! do you mean that I may not use as many words as I please?
[805]      
[806]      SOCRATES: Only to think, my friend, that having come on a visit to Athens,
[807]      which is the most free-spoken state in Hellas, you when you got there, and
[808]      you alone, should be deprived of the power of speech--that would be hard
[809]      indeed. But then consider my case:--shall not I be very hardly used, if,
[810]      when you are making a long oration, and refusing to answer what you are
[811]      asked, I am compelled to stay and listen to you, and may not go away? I
[812]      say rather, if you have a real interest in the argument, or, to repeat my
[813]      former expression, have any desire to set it on its legs, take back any
[814]      statement which you please; and in your turn ask and answer, like myself
[815]      and Gorgias--refute and be refuted: for I suppose that you would claim to
[816]      know what Gorgias knows--would you not?
[817]      
[818]      POLUS: Yes.
[819]      
[820]      SOCRATES: And you, like him, invite any one to ask you about anything
[821]      which he pleases, and you will know how to answer him?
[822]      
[823]      POLUS: To be sure.
[824]      
[825]      SOCRATES: And now, which will you do, ask or answer?
[826]      
[827]      POLUS: I will ask; and do you answer me, Socrates, the same question which
[828]      Gorgias, as you suppose, is unable to answer: What is rhetoric?
[829]      
[830]      SOCRATES: Do you mean what sort of an art?
[831]      
[832]      POLUS: Yes.
[833]      
[834]      SOCRATES: To say the truth, Polus, it is not an art at all, in my opinion.
[835]      
[836]      POLUS: Then what, in your opinion, is rhetoric?
[837]      
[838]      SOCRATES: A thing which, as I was lately reading in a book of yours, you
[839]      say that you have made an art.
[840]      
[841]      POLUS: What thing?
[842]      
[843]      SOCRATES: I should say a sort of experience.
[844]      
[845]      POLUS: Does rhetoric seem to you to be an experience?
[846]      
[847]      SOCRATES: That is my view, but you may be of another mind.
[848]      
[849]      POLUS: An experience in what?
[850]      
[851]      SOCRATES: An experience in producing a sort of delight and gratification.
[852]      
[853]      POLUS: And if able to gratify others, must not rhetoric be a fine thing?
[854]      
[855]      SOCRATES: What are you saying, Polus? Why do you ask me whether rhetoric
[856]      is a fine thing or not, when I have not as yet told you what rhetoric is?
[857]      
[858]      POLUS: Did I not hear you say that rhetoric was a sort of experience?
[859]      
[860]      SOCRATES: Will you, who are so desirous to gratify others, afford a slight
[861]      gratification to me?
[862]      
[863]      POLUS: I will.
[864]      
[865]      SOCRATES: Will you ask me, what sort of an art is cookery?
[866]      
[867]      POLUS: What sort of an art is cookery?
[868]      
[869]      SOCRATES: Not an art at all, Polus.
[870]      
[871]      POLUS: What then?
[872]      
[873]      SOCRATES: I should say an experience.
[874]      
[875]      POLUS: In what? I wish that you would explain to me.
[876]      
[877]      SOCRATES: An experience in producing a sort of delight and gratification,
[878]      Polus.
[879]      
[880]      POLUS: Then are cookery and rhetoric the same?
[881]      
[882]      SOCRATES: No, they are only different parts of the same profession.
[883]      
[884]      POLUS: Of what profession?
[885]      
[886]      SOCRATES: I am afraid that the truth may seem discourteous; and I hesitate
[887]      to answer, lest Gorgias should imagine that I am making fun of his own
[888]      profession. For whether or no this is that art of rhetoric which Gorgias
[889]      practises I really cannot tell:--from what he was just now saying, nothing
[890]      appeared of what he thought of his art, but the rhetoric which I mean is a
[891]      part of a not very creditable whole.
[892]      
[893]      GORGIAS: A part of what, Socrates? Say what you mean, and never mind me.
[894]      
[895]      SOCRATES: In my opinion then, Gorgias, the whole of which rhetoric is a
[896]      part is not an art at all, but the habit of a bold and ready wit, which
[897]      knows how to manage mankind: this habit I sum up under the word
[898]      'flattery'; and it appears to me to have many other parts, one of which is
[899]      cookery, which may seem to be an art, but, as I maintain, is only an
[900]      experience or routine and not an art:--another part is rhetoric, and the
[901]      art of attiring and sophistry are two others: thus there are four
[902]      branches, and four different things answering to them. And Polus may ask,
[903]      if he likes, for he has not as yet been informed, what part of flattery is
[904]      rhetoric: he did not see that I had not yet answered him when he proceeded
[905]      to ask a further question: Whether I do not think rhetoric a fine thing?
[906]      But I shall not tell him whether rhetoric is a fine thing or not, until I
[907]      have first answered, 'What is rhetoric?' For that would not be right,
[908]      Polus; but I shall be happy to answer, if you will ask me, What part of
[909]      flattery is rhetoric?
[910]      
[911]      POLUS: I will ask and do you answer? What part of flattery is rhetoric?
[912]      
[913]      SOCRATES: Will you understand my answer? Rhetoric, according to my view,
[914]      is the ghost or counterfeit of a part of politics.
[915]      
[916]      POLUS: And noble or ignoble?
[917]      
[918]      SOCRATES: Ignoble, I should say, if I am compelled to answer, for I call
[919]      what is bad ignoble: though I doubt whether you understand what I was
[920]      saying before.
[921]      
[922]      GORGIAS: Indeed, Socrates, I cannot say that I understand myself.
[923]      
[924]      SOCRATES: I do not wonder, Gorgias; for I have not as yet explained
[925]      myself, and our friend Polus, colt by name and colt by nature, is apt to
[926]      run away. (This is an untranslatable play on the name 'Polus,' which means
[927]      'a colt.')
[928]      
[929]      GORGIAS: Never mind him, but explain to me what you mean by saying that
[930]      rhetoric is the counterfeit of a part of politics.
[931]      
[932]      SOCRATES: I will try, then, to explain my notion of rhetoric, and if I am
[933]      mistaken, my friend Polus shall refute me. We may assume the existence of
[934]      bodies and of souls?
[935]      
[936]      GORGIAS: Of course.
[937]      
[938]      SOCRATES: You would further admit that there is a good condition of either
[939]      of them?
[940]      
[941]      GORGIAS: Yes.
[942]      
[943]      SOCRATES: Which condition may not be really good, but good only in
[944]      appearance? I mean to say, that there are many persons who appear to be in
[945]      good health, and whom only a physician or trainer will discern at first
[946]      sight not to be in good health.
[947]      
[948]      GORGIAS: True.
[949]      
[950]      SOCRATES: And this applies not only to the body, but also to the soul: in
[951]      either there may be that which gives the appearance of health and not the
[952]      reality?
[953]      
[954]      GORGIAS: Yes, certainly.
[955]      
[956]      SOCRATES: And now I will endeavour to explain to you more clearly what I
[957]      mean: The soul and body being two, have two arts corresponding to them:
[958]      there is the art of politics attending on the soul; and another art
[959]      attending on the body, of which I know no single name, but which may be
[960]      described as having two divisions, one of them gymnastic, and the other
[961]      medicine. And in politics there is a legislative part, which answers to
[962]      gymnastic, as justice does to medicine; and the two parts run into one
[963]      another, justice having to do with the same subject as legislation, and
[964]      medicine with the same subject as gymnastic, but with a difference. Now,
[965]      seeing that there are these four arts, two attending on the body and two on
[966]      the soul for their highest good; flattery knowing, or rather guessing their
[967]      natures, has distributed herself into four shams or simulations of them;
[968]      she puts on the likeness of some one or other of them, and pretends to be
[969]      that which she simulates, and having no regard for men's highest interests,
[970]      is ever making pleasure the bait of the unwary, and deceiving them into the
[971]      belief that she is of the highest value to them. Cookery simulates the
[972]      disguise of medicine, and pretends to know what food is the best for the
[973]      body; and if the physician and the cook had to enter into a competition in
[974]      which children were the judges, or men who had no more sense than children,
[975]      as to which of them best understands the goodness or badness of food, the
[976]      physician would be starved to death. A flattery I deem this to be and of
[977]      an ignoble sort, Polus, for to you I am now addressing myself, because it
[978]      aims at pleasure without any thought of the best. An art I do not call it,
[979]      but only an experience, because it is unable to explain or to give a reason
[980]      of the nature of its own applications. And I do not call any irrational
[981]      thing an art; but if you dispute my words, I am prepared to argue in
[982]      defence of them.
[983]      
[984]      Cookery, then, I maintain to be a flattery which takes the form of
[985]      medicine; and tiring, in like manner, is a flattery which takes the form of
[986]      gymnastic, and is knavish, false, ignoble, illiberal, working deceitfully
[987]      by the help of lines, and colours, and enamels, and garments, and making
[988]      men affect a spurious beauty to the neglect of the true beauty which is
[989]      given by gymnastic.
[990]      
[991]      I would rather not be tedious, and therefore I will only say, after the
[992]      manner of the geometricians (for I think that by this time you will be able
[993]      to follow)
[994]      
[995]      as tiring : gymnastic :: cookery : medicine;
[996]      
[997]      or rather,
[998]      
[999]      as tiring : gymnastic :: sophistry : legislation;
[1000]     
[1001]     and
[1002]     
[1003]     as cookery : medicine :: rhetoric : justice.
[1004]     
[1005]     And this, I say, is the natural difference between the rhetorician and the
[1006]     sophist, but by reason of their near connection, they are apt to be jumbled
[1007]     up together; neither do they know what to make of themselves, nor do other
[1008]     men know what to make of them. For if the body presided over itself, and
[1009]     were not under the guidance of the soul, and the soul did not discern and
[1010]     discriminate between cookery and medicine, but the body was made the judge
[1011]     of them, and the rule of judgment was the bodily delight which was given by
[1012]     them, then the word of Anaxagoras, that word with which you, friend Polus,
[1013]     are so well acquainted, would prevail far and wide: 'Chaos' would come
[1014]     again, and cookery, health, and medicine would mingle in an indiscriminate
[1015]     mass. And now I have told you my notion of rhetoric, which is, in relation
[1016]     to the soul, what cookery is to the body. I may have been inconsistent in
[1017]     making a long speech, when I would not allow you to discourse at length.
[1018]     But I think that I may be excused, because you did not understand me, and
[1019]     could make no use of my answer when I spoke shortly, and therefore I had to
[1020]     enter into an explanation. And if I show an equal inability to make use of
[1021]     yours, I hope that you will speak at equal length; but if I am able to
[1022]     understand you, let me have the benefit of your brevity, as is only fair:
[1023]     And now you may do what you please with my answer.
[1024]     
[1025]     POLUS: What do you mean? do you think that rhetoric is flattery?
[1026]     
[1027]     SOCRATES: Nay, I said a part of flattery; if at your age, Polus, you
[1028]     cannot remember, what will you do by-and-by, when you get older?
[1029]     
[1030]     POLUS: And are the good rhetoricians meanly regarded in states, under the
[1031]     idea that they are flatterers?
[1032]     
[1033]     SOCRATES: Is that a question or the beginning of a speech?
[1034]     
[1035]     POLUS: I am asking a question.
[1036]     
[1037]     SOCRATES: Then my answer is, that they are not regarded at all.
[1038]     
[1039]     POLUS: How not regarded? Have they not very great power in states?
[1040]     
[1041]     SOCRATES: Not if you mean to say that power is a good to the possessor.
[1042]     
[1043]     POLUS: And that is what I do mean to say.
[1044]     
[1045]     SOCRATES: Then, if so, I think that they have the least power of all the
[1046]     citizens.
[1047]     
[1048]     POLUS: What! are they not like tyrants? They kill and despoil and exile
[1049]     any one whom they please.
[1050]     
[1051]     SOCRATES: By the dog, Polus, I cannot make out at each deliverance of
[1052]     yours, whether you are giving an opinion of your own, or asking a question
[1053]     of me.
[1054]     
[1055]     POLUS: I am asking a question of you.
[1056]     
[1057]     SOCRATES: Yes, my friend, but you ask two questions at once.
[1058]     
[1059]     POLUS: How two questions?
[1060]     
[1061]     SOCRATES: Why, did you not say just now that the rhetoricians are like
[1062]     tyrants, and that they kill and despoil or exile any one whom they please?
[1063]     
[1064]     POLUS: I did.
[1065]     
[1066]     SOCRATES: Well then, I say to you that here are two questions in one, and
[1067]     I will answer both of them. And I tell you, Polus, that rhetoricians and
[1068]     tyrants have the least possible power in states, as I was just now saying;
[1069]     for they do literally nothing which they will, but only what they think
[1070]     best.
[1071]     
[1072]     POLUS: And is not that a great power?
[1073]     
[1074]     SOCRATES: Polus has already said the reverse.
[1075]     
[1076]     POLUS: Said the reverse! nay, that is what I assert.
[1077]     
[1078]     SOCRATES: No, by the great--what do you call him?--not you, for you say
[1079]     that power is a good to him who has the power.
[1080]     
[1081]     POLUS: I do.
[1082]     
[1083]     SOCRATES: And would you maintain that if a fool does what he thinks best,
[1084]     this is a good, and would you call this great power?
[1085]     
[1086]     POLUS: I should not.
[1087]     
[1088]     SOCRATES: Then you must prove that the rhetorician is not a fool, and that
[1089]     rhetoric is an art and not a flattery--and so you will have refuted me; but
[1090]     if you leave me unrefuted, why, the rhetoricians who do what they think
[1091]     best in states, and the tyrants, will have nothing upon which to
[1092]     congratulate themselves, if as you say, power be indeed a good, admitting
[1093]     at the same time that what is done without sense is an evil.
[1094]     
[1095]     POLUS: Yes; I admit that.
[1096]     
[1097]     SOCRATES: How then can the rhetoricians or the tyrants have great power in
[1098]     states, unless Polus can refute Socrates, and prove to him that they do as
[1099]     they will?
[1100]     
[1101]     POLUS: This fellow--
[1102]     
[1103]     SOCRATES: I say that they do not do as they will;--now refute me.
[1104]     
[1105]     POLUS: Why, have you not already said that they do as they think best?
[1106]     
[1107]     SOCRATES: And I say so still.
[1108]     
[1109]     POLUS: Then surely they do as they will?
[1110]     
[1111]     SOCRATES: I deny it.
[1112]     
[1113]     POLUS: But they do what they think best?
[1114]     
[1115]     SOCRATES: Aye.
[1116]     
[1117]     POLUS: That, Socrates, is monstrous and absurd.
[1118]     
[1119]     SOCRATES: Good words, good Polus, as I may say in your own peculiar style;
[1120]     but if you have any questions to ask of me, either prove that I am in error
[1121]     or give the answer yourself.
[1122]     
[1123]     POLUS: Very well, I am willing to answer that I may know what you mean.
[1124]     
[1125]     SOCRATES: Do men appear to you to will that which they do, or to will that
[1126]     further end for the sake of which they do a thing? when they take medicine,
[1127]     for example, at the bidding of a physician, do they will the drinking of
[1128]     the medicine which is painful, or the health for the sake of which they
[1129]     drink?
[1130]     
[1131]     POLUS: Clearly, the health.
[1132]     
[1133]     SOCRATES: And when men go on a voyage or engage in business, they do not
[1134]     will that which they are doing at the time; for who would desire to take
[1135]     the risk of a voyage or the trouble of business?--But they will, to have
[1136]     the wealth for the sake of which they go on a voyage.
[1137]     
[1138]     POLUS: Certainly.
[1139]     
[1140]     SOCRATES: And is not this universally true? If a man does something for
[1141]     the sake of something else, he wills not that which he does, but that for
[1142]     the sake of which he does it.
[1143]     
[1144]     POLUS: Yes.
[1145]     
[1146]     SOCRATES: And are not all things either good or evil, or intermediate and
[1147]     indifferent?
[1148]     
[1149]     POLUS: To be sure, Socrates.
[1150]     
[1151]     SOCRATES: Wisdom and health and wealth and the like you would call goods,
[1152]     and their opposites evils?
[1153]     
[1154]     POLUS: I should.
[1155]     
[1156]     SOCRATES: And the things which are neither good nor evil, and which
[1157]     partake sometimes of the nature of good and at other times of evil, or of
[1158]     neither, are such as sitting, walking, running, sailing; or, again, wood,
[1159]     stones, and the like:--these are the things which you call neither good nor
[1160]     evil?
[1161]     
[1162]     POLUS: Exactly so.
[1163]     
[1164]     SOCRATES: Are these indifferent things done for the sake of the good, or
[1165]     the good for the sake of the indifferent?
[1166]     
[1167]     POLUS: Clearly, the indifferent for the sake of the good.
[1168]     
[1169]     SOCRATES: When we walk we walk for the sake of the good, and under the
[1170]     idea that it is better to walk, and when we stand we stand equally for the
[1171]     sake of the good?
[1172]     
[1173]     POLUS: Yes.
[1174]     
[1175]     SOCRATES: And when we kill a man we kill him or exile him or despoil him
[1176]     of his goods, because, as we think, it will conduce to our good?
[1177]     
[1178]     POLUS: Certainly.
[1179]     
[1180]     SOCRATES: Men who do any of these things do them for the sake of the good?
[1181]     
[1182]     POLUS: Yes.
[1183]     
[1184]     SOCRATES: And did we not admit that in doing something for the sake of
[1185]     something else, we do not will those things which we do, but that other
[1186]     thing for the sake of which we do them?
[1187]     
[1188]     POLUS: Most true.
[1189]     
[1190]     SOCRATES: Then we do not will simply to kill a man or to exile him or to
[1191]     despoil him of his goods, but we will to do that which conduces to our
[1192]     good, and if the act is not conducive to our good we do not will it; for we
[1193]     will, as you say, that which is our good, but that which is neither good
[1194]     nor evil, or simply evil, we do not will. Why are you silent, Polus? Am I
[1195]     not right?
[1196]     
[1197]     POLUS: You are right.
[1198]     
[1199]     SOCRATES: Hence we may infer, that if any one, whether he be a tyrant or a
[1200]     rhetorician, kills another or exiles another or deprives him of his
[1201]     property, under the idea that the act is for his own interests when really
[1202]     not for his own interests, he may be said to do what seems best to him?
[1203]     
[1204]     POLUS: Yes.
[1205]     
[1206]     SOCRATES: But does he do what he wills if he does what is evil? Why do
[1207]     you not answer?
[1208]     
[1209]     POLUS: Well, I suppose not.
[1210]     
[1211]     SOCRATES: Then if great power is a good as you allow, will such a one have
[1212]     great power in a state?
[1213]     
[1214]     POLUS: He will not.
[1215]     
[1216]     SOCRATES: Then I was right in saying that a man may do what seems good to
[1217]     him in a state, and not have great power, and not do what he wills?
[1218]     
[1219]     POLUS: As though you, Socrates, would not like to have the power of doing
[1220]     what seemed good to you in the state, rather than not; you would not be
[1221]     jealous when you saw any one killing or despoiling or imprisoning whom he
[1222]     pleased, Oh, no!
[1223]     
[1224]     SOCRATES: Justly or unjustly, do you mean?
[1225]     
[1226]     POLUS: In either case is he not equally to be envied?
[1227]     
[1228]     SOCRATES: Forbear, Polus!
[1229]     
[1230]     POLUS: Why 'forbear'?
[1231]     
[1232]     SOCRATES: Because you ought not to envy wretches who are not to be envied,
[1233]     but only to pity them.
[1234]     
[1235]     POLUS: And are those of whom I spoke wretches?
[1236]     
[1237]     SOCRATES: Yes, certainly they are.
[1238]     
[1239]     POLUS: And so you think that he who slays any one whom he pleases, and
[1240]     justly slays him, is pitiable and wretched?
[1241]     
[1242]     SOCRATES: No, I do not say that of him: but neither do I think that he is
[1243]     to be envied.
[1244]     
[1245]     POLUS: Were you not saying just now that he is wretched?
[1246]     
[1247]     SOCRATES: Yes, my friend, if he killed another unjustly, in which case he
[1248]     is also to be pitied; and he is not to be envied if he killed him justly.
[1249]     
[1250]     POLUS: At any rate you will allow that he who is unjustly put to death is
[1251]     wretched, and to be pitied?
[1252]     
[1253]     SOCRATES: Not so much, Polus, as he who kills him, and not so much as he
[1254]     who is justly killed.
[1255]     
[1256]     POLUS: How can that be, Socrates?
[1257]     
[1258]     SOCRATES: That may very well be, inasmuch as doing injustice is the
[1259]     greatest of evils.
[1260]     
[1261]     POLUS: But is it the greatest? Is not suffering injustice a greater evil?
[1262]     
[1263]     SOCRATES: Certainly