So this week we read Plato’s Gorgias. I must say that throughout the whole read, I was going through different emotions towards Socrates. I found that every time he would challenge Gorgias, Polus and Callicles, I would start to get very annoyed. Most of the points that Gorgias, Polus and Callicles were making seemed logical, and it annoyed me that Socrates would always try and question them. However, once Socrates would prove his point, I began to like him, and found him less irritating. It was sort of a cycle for me; Annoyed, impressed, annoyed, impressed. Finally though I did eventually feel impressed with him.
Now, in terms of the arguments that were being said, I found that the first debate between Socrates and Gorgias was actually quite ironic. Socrates was trying to understand what craft an orator possesses, and at one point, it was said oratory is a producer of persuasion. Being that Gorgias is an orator, I found it ironic in how Socrates was the one persuading Gorgias to change his opinion on many things being said. Now, of course that is how Socrates always plays his game, it was just comical to me that an orator himself was getting played by him. Even Callicles calls out Socrates in saying that Socrates persuades and tricks the person he is discussing with, into being ashamed of their own thoughts.
Another part I really enjoyed was the conversation between Polus and Callicles discussing whether if someone who is unjust and doesn’t pay their dues is happier than someone who is unjust and gets punished. At the beginning of the argument, I found myself not really being able to understand how Socrates was going to get out of this one and prove his point, that someone who is unjust and doesn’t pay their dues (i.e gets away with whatever they were doing) is actually doomed to be more unhappy. When it comes down to it, I always thought that getting away with something was the easier road, but not the higher road. What really struck me, was when Socrates said “the happiest man, then, is the one who doesn’t have evil in his soul”. When I processed that, I realized that he is saying that no matter what we do in life that is bad, it must be balanced, and we must pay our dues. Otherwise the evil won’t leave us and we are bound to make the mistakes again. I really enjoyed that section and felt that I actually learned from it.