Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Socrates vs. Thrasymachus

When comparing the arguments of Socrates and Thrasymachus, I find Socrates more convincing. Using Burke’s theories, I’ll try to make my point.

The agent is Socrates, who was more courteous than Thrasymachus. Thrasymachus on the other hand became aggressive, insulting, and resulted in sarcasm at times. The scene is a conversation among gentlemen regarding justice, taken place at Cephalus’ house at the Piraeus. The first main purpose of the discussion was to define justice. However, when Thrasymachus joined the conversation, the purpose branched off to determine whether justice represented virtue or evil. The act is presenting questions towards Thrasymachus’ point of view to develop more understanding and to prove that justice is not as simple as being the “interest of the stronger.” The agency of Socrates is calm and polite demeanor in which he questioned Thrasymachus and argued his position. Socrates’ clever rhetoric led Thrasymachus’ thoughts of justice being beneficial to the stronger, to thoughts of a ruler (who is the stronger over his people) that could possibly make a mistake, which began the eating of words of Thrasymachus. The conversation went on to describe injustice as virtuous, which got Socrates started on his argument that injustice is the opposite. Socrates cleverly worded his questions to get Thrasymachus to admit that Thrasymachus believed that the unjust was ignorant, therefore the just was wise, and the wise was virtuous. Although Socrates succeeded in getting his point across, in the end, he still did not discover the clarity on justice that he wanted. He claimed to still know nothing at all about justice.

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