Primary Texts

Plato. Gorgias. Trans. Benjamin Jowett. The Project Gutenberg. 5 October 2008. Web. 25 January 2014. <>.

One of the best features of this text is that it is searchable. It highlights all of the words searched for, so it is easy to do a quick scan to find exactly what you are looking for. Also, the translation is easy to read and accessible for modern readers. I found this text by doing a Google search for “Plato’s Gorgias full text.”


Plato. Gorgias. Trans. W. C. Helmbold. New York: Liberal Arts P., 1952. Hathi Trust Digital Library. Web. 25 January 2014. <;view=1up;seq=1>.

This text is searchable, and it finds the word you search for along with a few of the lines that encompass the word in order to give context to where the word appears. These results are sorted by page number. This text is especially easy to read because it allows you to choose how you view the pages (zoom option, full screen, page-by-page, plain text, etc.). I found this text by doing a Google search for “Plato’s Gorgias full text.”


Plato. Gorgias. Trans. E. M. Cope. Cambridge, Deighton, Bell and Co, 1864. GoogleBooks. Web. 25 January 2014. <’s+gorgias&hl=en&sa=X&ei=YRTjUtusK5TtoASu2YDgBA&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=the&f=false>.

This translation is interesting because, as the introduction notes, the goal of this translation is “to render Plato’s text as nearly possible word for word into English” (v). Cope says that for this reason, it is not necessarily meant for English readers but rather for “students and scholars” (v). The translation is a bit difficult to read, as the sentence structure seems a bit odd, therefore, I would not recommend using this copy as a first introduction to Gorgias. I found this text using a Google Books search and limiting my findings to full text items only.


Rhetorical Précises

Kastely, James L. “In Defense of Plato’s Gorgias.PMLA 106.1 (Jan. 1991): 96-109. JSTOR. Web. 25 January 2014.

James L. Kastely, in his article “In Defense of Plato’s Gorigias” (1991) suggests “an alternative way to write the history of rhetoric” (97) by saying that Gorgias is not meant to critique the usefulness of rhetoric, but rather suggests that rhetoric acts as a powerful tool in refutation and thus encourages philosophical thinking.

Kastley first approaches this article by talking about the common critical and historical views on Gorgias and how often historians read it as a conversation that tries to uncover the evil nature of rhetoric, or they discuss Socrates’ seemingly absurd logic; however, Kastley spends the rest of the article providing examples from Gorgias and expounding on those examples in order to prove that the dialogue ends unsatisfactorily because it was not met with refutation, and also explaining that Socrates used ridiculous claims and logic as a way to incite refutation, because he believed that refutation was the best use of rhetoric.

This article serves to change or add a differing perspective to the common historical perception of Plato’s beliefs about rhetoric as revealed through the Gorgias.

This article was written for an audience of history of rhetoric students or scholars, and it invites its readers to look at Gorgias from a new perspective by leading them through the argument and some of its most common grey areas.

Stauffer, Devin. “Socrates and Callicles: A Reading of Plato’s Gorgias.” The Review of Politics 64.4 (Autumn 2002): 627-657. JSTOR. Web. 24 January 2014.

Devin Stauffer, in his article “Socrates and Callicles: A Reading of Plato’s Gorgias” (2002), proposes a new reading of Plato’s Gorgias that argues for Callicles as an example of a person who has closed himself off from self examination of his own beliefs, and as such, disables himself from understanding justice and partaking in philosophy.

Stauffer organizes this article by first examining Callicles and his statements in the Gorgias in order to discover how he is dedicated to virtue, but that he tends to take a “cynical” (647) point of view, showing how he sees the strong ruling the weak and believes that happiness is felt only by obtaining personal pleasure; then, Stauffer turns to Socrates and gives examples of why he would take an extreme pro-justice view, and that with this extreme view he is encouraging Callicles to examine his own understanding of justice and move toward philosophical thinking.

The purpose of this article provide a new understanding of the argument that occurs between Callicles and Socrates, and in doing so, he hopes to add to the historical understanding of what Socrates’ beliefs were of political philosophy.

This article was written for scholars of history of rhetoric, politics, and philosophy, and it appeals to the audiences’ pathos by asking them to see Callicles as a man struck by fear of discovering his true beliefs.


White, F. C. The Good in Plato’s Gorigas.Phronesis 35.2 (1990): 117-127. JSTOR. Web. 25 January 2014.

F. C. White, in his article “The Good in Plato’s Gorgias” (1990), argues that while Socrates seems to oppose himself when he states that good consists of doing good for oneself and virtue means doing good for others, he actually sees them coexisting together by believing that doing good for others is ultimately doing the most good for oneself.

To prove his point, White makes a logical deduction by using passages in the text to first establish where Socrates states that he believes virtue concerns the good of others and that good is self-centered, and then he points out that through refuting Callicles’ belief of what the greatest good is, Socrotes states that the most good a man can achieve for himself is a pursuit of virtue which in fact includes doing good and promoting virtue in others, thus resolving the two seemingly conflicting definitions of good and virtuous.

The purpose of this article is to resolve what seem to be two opposing definitions of good and virtuous, and it stands in opposition of other critical readings of the text, especially T. Irwin’s reading from Plato’s Moral Theory who argues for virtue as craft.

This article was written for a scholarly audience interested in the history of Rhetoric and Philosophy.