Isocrates and Plato on the Art of Rhetoric

Isocrates and Plato on the Art of Rhetoric
Sophists in Greek times featured practical knowledge, which include governing and decision making.Sophists were willing to teach anyone who could pay for their services; therefore you had to have been raised in a wealthy family in order to be included.Isocrates was a sophist and opened thefirst permanent institution of higher liberal arts education.He taught the art of writing essays and how to become a great orator in his school.He focused mainly on the morality issues of topical political issues.Critics of these teachings were lead by Plato.The emphasis taught by Isocrates was contrary to the traditional philosophers, like Plato, who were engaged in seeking the truth.Plato made his skills of governance available to anyone, regardless of birth and wealth.Plato viewed rhetoric as, "Mere flattery and as a vehicle for misleading others", (Golden, p.9).Isocrates and Plato had different views of what rhetoric meant; their views are contrasted throughout the paper.
Isocrates believed that rhetoric was meant to be read rather then delivered.The rhetoric he taught exhibited vocabulary, figures of speech, and many illustrations from history and philosophy.Isocrates thought that a rhetorician should manipulate the style of language to meet the needs of the speech.Isocrates thought that language could take fundamental forms, "These were to be mixed, shaped, fitted together, in the same way that a painter mixes colors or a sculptor smoothes a joint", ( Isocrates distinguished himself from
his contemporary rhetoricians by not believing that any general rule can be applied to rhetoric.Isocrates thought that, "All general principles must fail because they screen out the particulars of a given situation, which must be taken into account in all truly good moral and rhetorical decisions&quo…


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