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Rhetoric In Plato Essay

934 words - 4 pages

Well-known for his significant impact on the philosophical world, Socrates was one of the first people to truly question individuals and take the average level of thinking to a much more elevated level. The Last Days of Socrates, specifically Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito, written by Plato demonstrates Socrates’ great use of the Socratic method as well as rhetoric, the art of persuasion. Many people looked down upon Socrates because they viewed his calling, as told by the Oracle of Delphi, to be impious. Although Socrates was put to death for living a life such as his, he was very extremely successful during his time alive. Socrates was successful in both the realm of philosophical truth ...view middle of the document...

Apology is written about Socrates attending court and speaking to the jury about his actions. The jury, as well as several other members of society, view Socrates’ actions as immoral and they believe he is acting as a god to younger boys. Socrates speaks to the jury saying, “You are mistaken, my friend, if you think that a man who is worth anything ought to spend his time weighing out the prospects of life and death, he has only one thing to consider in performing any action; that is, whether he is acting justly or unjustly, like a good man or a bad one” (Ap. 54.28c). In this specific instance of rhetoric, Socrates allows the jury in on his thought process. Although several people would like Socrates to be put to death for his actions, he still holds true to his values and accepts death if that is what to come. In speaking his mind, he also inadvertently uses rhetoric to alter the jury’s way of thinking about the value of life and worth of a person.
Crito is written during the time that Socrates is in jail and his friend, Crito, tries to persuade him to escape in order to live. Socrates uses persuasive thinking in response to Crito’s request and says, “Whatever the popular view is, and whether the consequence is pleasanter than this or even tougher, the fact remains that to commit injustice is in every case bad and dishonorable for the person who does it” (Crito 88.49b). Socrates’ response to Crito simply trying to help Socrates live is rhetoric at best, but stated very indirectly. Socrates states it as a fact, however it is his thought process that he is trying to inflict upon Crito. In the grand scheme of things, Socrates’ rhetoric gets through to Crito and he dies with honor.
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