2 tipes of power in plato s gorgias.pdf

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Two Types of Power in Plato's Gorgias Author(s): James C. Haden Reviewed work(s): Source: The Classical Journal, Vol. 87, No. 4 (Apr. - May, 1992), pp. 313-326 Published by: The Classical Association of the Middle West and South Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3297442 . Accessed: 16/10/2012 14:39 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp . JSTOR is a not-for-profit se
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  Two Types of Power in Plato's Gorgias Author(s): James C. HadenReviewed work(s):Source: The Classical Journal, Vol. 87, No. 4 (Apr. - May, 1992), pp. 313-326Published by: The Classical Association of the Middle West and South Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3297442. Accessed: 16/10/2012 14:39 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. . The Classical Association of the Middle West and South is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve andextend access to The Classical Journal. http://www.jstor.org  TWOTYPESOF POWER N PLATO'SGORGIASAccordingtoits traditionalsubtitle,theGorgiassabout rhet-oric.E. R.Dodds,however,seesitscentralhemeas themoral basisofpolitics, andholdsthat thediscussionof rhetoric s entwinedwithquestionsofeudaimonia.1PaulFriedlanderirtuallydismissesrheto-ric,andbelievesthat there are two levels tothediscussion-thatofmoralprinciplesand thatof differentwaysoflife;2ina rathercrypticaside heremarks thatwarandbattleis also a theme.Iproposethat thecentraltheme,linkingall theothers,is thatofpower.Since power andcognatewordssuchas strength and force tud thedialogue,this ishardlyadiscovery.But there aretwospecificandcontrasting typesofpowerwhichneedto beillumi-nated anddistinguishedtograspthedialoguefully.Sincethis is amatter ofinterpretation,thefirststephasto beto makeexplicitwhat hermeneuticalprinciplesare tobe used.Thebasicone is theassumptionthat Platoactuallywroteasthe artisthe issooften claimedtobe. It followsthatweare entitledtotakecuesfromtechniquesmore often foundinliterarycriticismthaninphilosophicalanalysis.Ifweassume thatPlato,likeanysuperbwriter,tookgreatpainswithwhat he includedinthedialogueandwiththeprecise wayheexpressedhimself,itseems reasonablethat to understandexactlywhathewastryingtosayweabsolutelymustgiveourmaximumattention toeverydetailof adialogueinthehopeofinsight.Wecannotaffordtopushasideanythingonthegroundsthatitismerely literary -i.e.ornamental-andnot philosophical. Thatisa mod-erndistinction,stemmingfrom apost-Platonicview of whatphilosophyis;forPlatothereisnochasmbetween the two.3 The IPlato, Gorgias:ARevisedTextWithCommentaryOxford1959)1-2. 2 Plato2:TheDialogues.FirstPeriod. Trans.HansMeyerhoff(London1964)266. 3 Itis truehatntheRepubliclatosuggestsbanishingmostpoetryrom thepolis,but atthe sametime he usestechniquesike themythof Er and theparableoftheCaveforphilosophicalpurposes.Aboveall,hechosetocouchhis ideas inthedramaticormofdialogues.TheClassicalournal7.41992)13-326  314JAMES.HADENspiritoftheinquiryhere, then,is wellputbyAnnLebeck,whenshesays, speakingof theOresteia:Closeanalysisoflanguageandimagerycombined withanalysisof the ideasinvolvedyieldsthe mostfar-reachinginterpretation.Suchaninterpretationgoesbe-yondwhat is stateddirectlyand elicitsmeaningfromeverymode ofexpressionemployedbythepoet.4Therefore,takingPlatoasartist-philosopherwiththe utmostseriousness,Iassumethatit wasentirelynaturalforhimasamaster writer toconvey meaning by literary mages,whether con-sciouslyorunconsciously.Thisis amorecontroversialworkingas-sumption,andevenlesscustomary among philosophersthantheassumptionof thetotalsignificanceofthedialogues, thoughdiscussionofimageryistakenforgrantedncriticalexaminationof,say,thetragicdramatistsof thefifthcentury,as the referencetoLebeckmakesplain.So itisworthwhilespellingoutinmore detailwhat is meant.5First,t isimportantosee thatanimageinthis sensediffersfromthe et&0)ov whichPlatocondemnedas the shadowof ashadow-thelowestsegmentoftheDividedLine. Here image stands foraspecificandconcretebut stillpartiallygeneralizedidea,some-thingbetweenthedata ofperceptionandconceptsofabstraction.Thanks toits concretenessit canbe namedanddescribed,andhencethelanguageof a text canexpressitdirectlyandindi-rectlywitha vastrangeofshades.Apoeticpassagecan aboundin 4 TheOresteia:AStudyinLanguageand Structure(Washington,D.C.1971)1.5 Image satermoften usedfairlyoosely.G. E. R.Lloyd,inabookcontainingmanyinterestingandusefulthings(PolarityndAnalogy:TwoTypesofArgumentationnEarlyGreekThoughtCambridge19661),mploysit con-stantlybut neverclarifies whatpreciselyhe meansbyit,sometimesconnectingitwithanalogy,sometimes withmetaphor.Hisapproachisprimarilyogical,andhence he seemsto use the termbroadlyforanysortofconcretepictorialhought.Sleep,forexample,canbepersonifiedas the all-tamer, or describedas pouredover or wrappedround someone(202).He doesgrantthatconcreteimagescan anddoexpressthought(211),and inearlyGreekthinkingwere awayofapprehendingphenomena207).Not untilPlatoisa consciousdistinction drawn betweenimagesand demonstration(229-300).Possessionof thedistinctiondoes notimplythatbothwaysofshowingcannotbeused,of course.  TWOTYPES FPOWERN PLATO'SORGIAS315wordssuggestinganimage,andcan thusconveyacontextfortheovertdetails of thepoem,as there are references o netsandsnaresinAeschylus'sAgamemnonhichquietlyreinforce heaudience'sgraspoftheplaysaction.Second,theexplicitconceptof aliteraryimageas anartisticdevicebelongs,ofcourse,to modernliterarycriticism;wecannotknowwhetheror not Plato used itconsciously,althoughhemayhave.But itspoeticuse as distinctfrom itscriticalfunctionneed notbeexplicitlyconscious,sinceitisatechniquewhicharisesspontaneouslyinahost ofspecificforms such assimile,metaphor,andtrope, partandparcelof the wholesymbolic capacityoflanguage.LebeckpointsoutthatintheOresteia heimages,such as netsandsnares,recurinsuchawaythat eachrecurrenceaddsanewelementtothosewith which it isassociated. Often thisexpansionwillblend twoimages previously separate.... Imagesare introducedproleptically,where the word'prolepsis'...denotes a briefinitialstatementofseveralmajorthemes enbloc....Significancencreaseswithrepetition:heimage gainsinclarityastheaction moves toaclimax. 6Theinterpretermust viewtheserecurrentimagesbothintheirimmediatecontextand,moreimportantly,asbearersofmeaningwhichonly emergesasthey developthrough-out thework.7 This is notamechanicalprocess,but onesubjecttothe hermeneuticcirclefrom whole topartand backagain.Whenrelated toeach otherand to ideas whichtheyillustrate orthedramaticactionwhich translates hemintovisualterms,theimagesceaseto bediscreteandarbitrarypicturesandemergeasimportantcomponentsof theplay's significance. 8Themore concentratedhis orherpoeticexpression,the morenaturallyanauthor seems touse thesymbolicresources oflanguage.The Greeklyric poetsusethemmorethan theepic poets,AeschylusmorethanEuripides.In Plato'scase,thebrevityof theearly,Socraticdialoguesdemandsuseofimagery,whichismainlyabandonedafter 6 Lebeck(note4above)1-2. 7 InTheArtandThoughtfHeraclitus(Cambridge1979),CharlesH.Kahnproceedssimilarlyinhisinterpretationof thefragments, usingtheterm resonance todesignate something adaptedfrom Lebeck's prolep-sis, sincethesrcinalorder of thefragmentsisunknown,unlikeaplayby AeschylusoradialoguebyPlato. OnReadingHeraclitus 87-95),his discussion of hishermeneuticalprinciples,s well worthconsulting.8Lebeck(note4above)3.
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