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Plato’s Gorgias Applied to the Pursuit of Power Essay


While running for office, I realize that I am lagging by a few points in the most recent polls. Coincidentally, a member of my team has stumbled upon vital information, which potentially holds a damaging effect on my opponent. The best aspect of this discovery lies in the fact that the information is true. Unsure of the next step of action, my advisors put a juicy proposal on the table on how best to use the information.

They propose that it would be in my favor to put a TV that exposes my opponent in a bad light. Opportunistic as it looks, the situation has left me thinking about what to do. However, as a student of Machiavelli, I choose to focus on the end rather than the means, leading me to opt for accepting the proposal as opposed to brushing it aside. Plato’s Gorgias is about the question of whether it is better to pursue power or virtue and whether or not one can have real power without virtue.

The bottom line of this discussion centers on the fact that I am pursuing power. In the pursuit of power, I hold the view that the aim is more valuable than the method or the approach employed. However, I do not condone the use of illicit approaches. Consequently, I find the emergence of the damaging information on my opponent a good occurrence at an opportune moment that I should take advantage of and get the most out of the situation. This explains why I consider leaking this information to the public, a wise move that would improve my chances of success while lowering those of the opponent.

Being truthful is virtuous. It has been established that the information is truthful. As such, it does not matter whether the information is damaging or not, the major issue revolves around truthfulness. I believe in being truthful. Hence, I find it disturbing to withhold any kind of information that I possess. This is especially worsened when I understand that such information is valuable to the public about decision-making.

As a result, I am under an obligation to publicize the information. It should be clear at this stage that even if I was not seeking an elective position, I would still make such information public in line with observing the attributes that I have cultivated over my lifetime.

I do not control how those who get information use it, as such, if they decide to use it negatively; it is none of my business. I intend to release the information to the public to empower them to understand the kind of person they are dealing with. I strongly believe that as a leader, I must behave responsibly. Consequently, I have the responsibility of ensuring that people are well informed. To achieve this goal, I have a duty of publicizing all information at my disposal. Hence, the damaging information on my opponent cannot be treated differently.

In addition to the point above, leaders are role models. Put in pedestrian terms, leaders are individuals that society looks upon about guidance and leadership. As a result, failure on my part, to give information amounts to a negation of the true virtue of leading and guiding. Additionally, denying the populace the chance to know what is going on is equivalent to abetting wrongdoing.

In the Gorgias dialogue, it is indicated that to inflict pain or to suffer is bad. While debating on which option is worse than the other is, it emerges that suffering wrongdoing is undesirable when compared to inflicting pain, based on the views of Polus and Callicles. However, Socrates holds that the commission of wrong is worse as he perceives such to be a bigger evil. Socrates goes a step further and claims that inflicting pain and getting away with it is more evil (Stauffer 40-90).

In light of the Gorgias dialogue, it comes out that abetting wrongdoing is unrespectable. As Polus and Callicles point out, suffering wrongdoing is bad (Stauffer 40). Based on this assertion, I find myself inclined to use a TV ad or whichever form of communication to inform people of what is happening. I believe that leaving people uninformed amounts to exposing them to suffering if they end up making the wrong choice in the elections as a result of a lack of information.

On the other hand, Socrates indicates that the inflicting of pain is evil, I believe that failing to publicize the damaging information equates to the former. Pain is inflicted by the act of withholding the damaging information. By withholding the information, I am forcing the people to suffer since they are likely to make the wrong choice that may come to haunt them.

Virtue and power are two sides of a coin based on the views of Socrates, Polus, and Callicles. As such, ruling virtuously is critical if the ruler is to enjoy real power. The two, Polus and Callicles however disagree with Socrates on what is more evil between inflicting suffering or being the victim of suffering (Stauffer 82). This notwithstanding, there is agreement on the need to be virtuous while ruling. Based on this, I will agree with the proposal and go ahead with it as it serves the interests of the people as well as my personal goals.

Work Cited

Stauffer, Devin. The Unity of Plato’s Gorgias: Rhetoric, Justice, and the Philosophic Life. London: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

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"Plato’s Gorgias Applied to the Pursuit of Power." IvyPanda, 30 Jan. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/platos-gorgias-applied-to-the-pursuit-of-power/.

1. IvyPanda. "Plato’s Gorgias Applied to the Pursuit of Power." January 30, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/platos-gorgias-applied-to-the-pursuit-of-power/.


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IvyPanda. "Plato’s Gorgias Applied to the Pursuit of Power." January 30, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/platos-gorgias-applied-to-the-pursuit-of-power/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Plato’s Gorgias Applied to the Pursuit of Power." January 30, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/platos-gorgias-applied-to-the-pursuit-of-power/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Plato’s Gorgias Applied to the Pursuit of Power'. 30 January.

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