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How does Plato's view of rhetoric converge and diverge from the sophists?
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The Sophists' view (and use) of rhetoric is a counterfeit imitation of Plato's. While Plato believes that rhetoric is, indeed, a type of persuasion, Plato's rhetoric has a particular aim, which is the concern for the state of other's souls, in respect to contentment, virtue, happiness, and in preparation for the next life. While the sophists' used flattery and beautifully-laced speech to persuade their audiences, the goals within their speeches were not concerned with the welfare of the listeners. They were concerned with personal gain in political power, propriety, and things that would serve for their own comforts. Plato's rhetoric deals with virtue, self-control, and the true differences between right and wrong. While the sophists rhetoric was based on pleasure, Plato's was based on happiness, which is not the same as pleasure.
Rhetoric is a species of flattery, and flattery, in all its guises, aims for short-term pleasure rather than the good. The problem with rhetoric is that it panders to its audience's short-term desires, and makes is difficult for them to actually think about what may or may not be better for them in the long-term. The dialogue concludes with a myth regarding the afterlife; we are to understand that it is good to avoid afterlife punishment, and proper rhetoric is aimed at perfecting one's soul for the afterlife while one is still alive, so that when they are judged, they will not receive punishment in the afterlife for that which they did not deal with in the present world.
Plato may be trying to show that Socrates had to break his own rules in the dialectic to exemplify the corruption of power in Athens. The "failure" within the dialectic clearly parallels the corrupt nature of the Athenian government, pointing out the sheer incompetency. Though the dialectic fails, rhetoric does not.

"The 'bafflement' which Socrates produced in his interlocutors was the result of showing them the error of blind adherence to their conditioned moral views; this could be, and was, superficially interpreted as an attempt to undermine the prevailing moral code."
Nomas refers to the rules of polite society, meaning: social conventions which govern society.
Physis is the opposite of nomas, and roughly translates to mean "nature."
In regards to rhetoric, nomas and physis are mentioned in Gorgias when Callicles becomes angry with Socrates, claiming that Socrates has used nomus against Gorgias, in that Gorgias only agreed with Socrates, trapping himself in his own questions and subsequently looking foolish, because he was being polite (nomas). Callicles says that Socrates used physis questions, regarding nature, to change their minds and agree with him.
Rhetorically, nomas is used when a person is polite in conversation, and doesn't state what they actually mean, so as to not offend others. Physis is the opposite, used when one makes clear the true nature of their meaning, without concern to offending others, remaining loyal to their true nature (physis).
The Platonic Socrates' view of rhetoric is concerned only with the perfecting of souls for the afterlife. Socrates' mission in life was to improve Athenian souls, and rhetoric was the tool he used to interrogate people and help them to see their faults, such that they could fix them, and thus, improve the state of their soul while still on earth.
Though it is ideal to avoid both, it is more contemptible to do wrong than to suffer wrong, because one who does wrong is a fool, and has a soul that can be described as a "leaky jar;" a fool's "leaky" soul is unreliable and forgetful, and unable to prevent from "spilling," meaning: doing wrong to others for immediate gratification. Anyone is prone to suffering wrong, but one who does wrong possesses an unrestrained soul, a soul that creates a "self-indulgent life of insatiable desire."
Rhetoric, when used for the administration of justice, forces a person with such a disorderly soul to be punished, which is not actually punishment, but an opportunity for the person's soul to be corrected, learning discipline and restraint, which allows for a simpler way of life, one that is easy to maintain, preventative, and calming.
Socrates attempts to use rhetoric to persuade Callicles to change his mind and "prefer and orderly life, in which one is content with whatever is at hand," rather than his present state of self-indulgence and aim for pleasure without concern for the welfare of others.
The way we read, write, learn, and speak heavily affects our consciousness. Our literate culture impresses passive learning, which opposes the Greek's oral culture of active learning.

An oral culture listens, and relies heavily on its senses to absorb information. People speak, rather than write. They listen, rather than read. They watch people's actions and pay close attention to congruence (or the lack of) between people's words and what they do.

An oral culture endangers concision in the passing of information, because nothing is "written in stone," literally. It endangers the people within the culture, because they are unable to strengthen their knowledge through being literate. In this type of culture, the people with power will remain in power, causing corruption, because the citizens have only limited access to knowledge. It endangers everyone, because there's no "cap" on the power of the elite, and the people below are without the literate tools to rise above their state of illiteracy.
To clarify, when Socrates makes this self-assertion, he's not being cocky, and he does refer to himself as an "example," because he is not, in fact involved with politics, not at all- he means that there's a connection between moral knowledge and political expertise. He adheres strictly to moral improvement as the reason for saying anything, rather than gratification and pleasure, which, as was exemplified by Callicles in particular, was the aim of the actual statesmen of the time.
Gorgias ends with a myth regarding judgment from the gods in the afterlife, and the dialogue clearly shows Socrates ceaseless attempt to aid his counterparts by showing them their own ignorance, through rhetoric, such that when they face the finality of death, their souls will be as pure as possible, and they won't face punishment in the afterlife.

It also is heavily allusive of Socrates trial and execution, and throughout, Socrates is well aware that he's opened the door for judgment from the people in his city. However, this is of no matter to him. Socrates states, "Let people despise you and abuse you as an idiot, if they like; yes, let them even strike you ignominiously in the face. Why should that worry you? Nothing terrible will happen to you as long as you really are a good and moral person, training yourself in the exercise of virtue."

This is prominent because Socrates' mission in life was to improve the souls of others.
Initially, living judges dealt with living people and passed judgment upon them on the day of their impending death. Since the souls were able to prepare for this and clothe themselves accordingly, people were getting sent to the wrong place in the afterlife; the judges were unable to administer justice properly, distracted by attractive bodies, noble birth, wealth, as well as by the witnesses who came forward to testify the to the exemplary lives the people had led. Not only that, but the judges themselves were caught in their bodies. All of this was a barrier to the encountering the souls in their raw form.
The rules were changed: people were no longer told in advance when they were going to die, and they were to be judged only after death, when they were "naked," by "naked" judges.
This way, the assessment was made fair, so a judge with an unhampered soul could scrutinize the unhampered soul of a freshly dead individual, one who has left "all those trappings behind in the world." Socrates later says, "Once the soul has been stripped of the body, all its features become obvious—its innate features and also the attributes the person has lodged in his soul through his behavior in particular situations."

The meaning of the myth is that if a person chooses to live a life of self-indulgence, seeking pleasure through immediate gratification, with no concern for other's welfare, he must not assume that this will go unnoticed forever. Eventually, his wrongdoings will be blatant, having scarred his soul, and he will pay for his injustice eternally.
Myths are rhetorical fantasies that often have religious overtones. Though they are based on fictional characters, they always contain a kernel of truth and always teach a lesson. They are a way by which a society makes sense of the world and inculcates values, the guides for decision-making.

Each work of mythology is inspired by force greater than humans and beyond their control. However, humans can control the interpretation put on these events. The interpretive functions rhetorically by allowing us to take something as something else, and also allows for comparison, which is sometimes figurative in order to make something clear.
• Archetypal metaphors arrange the world into acceptable stories and provide society with comparisons that are more accessible to an audience.
• They play across our consciousness and give connotations to what we hear.
• Archetypal metaphors ground myths and help them convey their morals, providing pathways toward ingrained expressions in the human psyche.