Seeking Justice in Plato's Gorgias


  • Audrey Wallace Bryn Mawr College



Rhetoric, Justice, Socrates, Gorgias


In this paper I argue that Socrates’ description of a rhetorician capable of using rhetoric in the service of justice in Plato’s Gorgias should be read as a reference to Socrates himself. A critical examination of the passage in which Socrates argues that rhetoric should be applied to legally protecting one’s enemies (480e–481a) reveals Socrates’ willingness to use rhetorical tactics, even the ones he criticizes, such as making misleading statements and manipulating his audience’s emotions, in order to persuade his audience of the benefit of correction and that it is better to be done wrong than to wrong another.

Author Biography

Audrey Wallace, Bryn Mawr College

Audrey Wallace is a PhD candidate at Bryn Mawr College in the Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies program.  Her dissertation work focuses on the depiction of sophists and Socrates in the Platonic dialogues as she critically examines the differences established between the two, both in the material as well as in secondary scholarship.  Her research interest in rhetoric has led her to explore a wide variety of material, from the presentation of female speakers in Ovid to considering how religious authors in late antiquity handled the incorporation or rejection of pagan material.




How to Cite

Wallace, A. (2022). Seeking Justice in Plato’s Gorgias. Selected Proceedings of the Classics Graduate Student Symposia at the University of Florida, 1.