Socrates, The Man Who Means?

1293 Words6 Pages
Though it is clear that rational argument is Socrates’ preferred method of discussion, it is evident in Phaedrus that he finds it appropriate to use myths as well. Knowing when and where to use myth in speech, Socrates would argue, is a skill that is imperative for a speaker to possess. Socrates does not rely on rational argument alone because not every audience is receptive to it. He explains to Phaedrus that “the man who means to be an expert in rhetoric must know how many forms soul has.” Socrates is claiming that one must alter the way he delivers a speech in order for it to be well received by his audience. For example, if one were to give a lesson on Phaedrus, he would provide a remarkably simpler summary to a group of middle schoolers than he would a group of graduate students. Socrates uses myth when arguing with Phaedrus because he felt that was the most effective way to deliver his points regarding how to improve Phaedrus’ speech. Machiavelli, in The Prince, is rarely poetic when trying to persuade his audience of why his prince is the ideal prince. When addressing Lorenzo de’ Medici directly, Machiavelli puts Medici on a mountainous pedestal, while putting himself in a valley. This use of descriptive landscapes is an example of the poetic writing found in The Prince, and similar uses can be found throughout. However, to begin the second chapter, Machiavelli specifically outlines exactly what he is going to explain and he maintains that plan throughout by using rational argument. In the first fourteen chapters, Machiavelli identifies and explains the different principalities and the various types of “princes” that have existed and failed in those principalities. He uses these real-life examples to give the audience ... ... middle of paper ... ...Social Contract, “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” Individuals have lost all physical freedoms as a result of a socially accepted shadow of morals being cast over everything. The general will is understanding of the fact that physical freedoms are already lost, but allows for individuals to maintain their individual thinking. As a part of the general will the individuals just accept that the best method of self-preservation is to act in a way that is best for the entire body. I maintain that I would prefer to live in a state where my leader is not selfish and does not seek to make me fearful of him, where I am free to do my own thinking but must act in a way that will benefit my entire community. I would rather live in a state where my peers and I have a voice than in a state where one leader does whatever he himself thinks is best for he himself.

More about Socrates, The Man Who Means?

Open Document