Gorgias by Plato
Gorgias is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato around 380 BC. The dialogue depicts a conversation between Socrates and a small group of sophists (and other guests) at a dinner gathering. Socrates debates with the sophist seeking the true definition of rhetoric, attempting to pinpoint the essence of rhetoric and unveil the flaws of the sophistic oratory popular in Athens at the time. The dialogue begins just after Gorgias has given a speech. Callicles says that Gorgias is a guest in his home, and has agreed to a private audience with Socrates and his friend Chaerephon. Socrates gets Gorgias to agree to his cross-examination style of conversation. Gorgias identifies his craft as rhetoric, and affirms that he should be called a rhetorician. As Socrates asks him questions, he praises him for the brevity of his replies. Gorgias remarks that no one has asked him a new question in a long time, and when Socrates asks, he assures him that he is just as capable of brevity as of long-windedness. One must remember that although the dialogue depicts a fictitious interaction, Socrates was indeed Plato's teacher. As a result, this character's words for the most part should be taken as indicative of the actual Socratic framework and presentation, in addition to serving as an expression of Plato's own positions.