What branch of pandering does oratory belong to?

Essay by prostiaCollege, UndergraduateB+, May 2004

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In the section found between pages 31 and 33 of Gorgias, Socrates argues again with Gorgias in his attempt to understand what oratory represents and does. Along the fragment two main themes are distinguished. They are expressed in the form of questions, and namely: ¹"What is the nature of oratory?" and ""Is it honorable or not?".

The theme that I have chose for my essay is based on the first question that will eventually transform itself in: "What branch of pandering does oratory belongs to?". In the beginning, Socrates states a key word: "pandering". All of his arguments in the speech he makes will turn around this concept, the concept of imitating another art. According to him there are four arts that are grouped two by two: medicine and training on one side and legislation and justice on the other. Socrates considers oratory as a disguise of the genuine art of justice.

The first argument brought up by him refers to the fact that pandering pays no regard to the best interests of its goal, but exploits the mass's weaknesses. He gives this example so that he can point out that oratory too has an audience represented by large crowds of people and its main goal is to persuade them to adopt the point of view of the speaker. In modern times this is called manipulation and so many examples have been seen across this century only. A few relevant examples would be: Hitler's ability to speak and manipulate the German people for a period of more than 10 years (he took power in 1933 and died in 1945), any presidential campaign uses oratory as a way by which to impose the candidate's political, social, military point of view, lawyers persuading juries, and also the most recent type of mass...