Socrates Rhetorical Analysis

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Socrates and Medea abuse rhetoric in an effort to manipulate the way others view them, and create an image that will help them gain control over the situations they are in. Socrates uses rhetoric by controlling the image of his accusers, and in the self portrait he creates for his audience. He presents himself as a man of good character, someone who should be trusted more so than those who are accusing him. His ability to do this is supported by his self confidence, which serves as the foundation for his entire speech. Medea relies heavily on the emotional state of her audience, and consistently invokes sympathy stemming from three roles she plays; the victim, the woman, and the mother. These two types of rhetoric, though different in the way …show more content…
Instead, he seems more concerned with the attack on his character, rather than any potential threat to his person. There really is no way for Socrates to prove or disprove the accusations against him, as they are based off opinion rather than fact. As Kazutaka Kondo states in his paper “Socrates’ Rhetorical Strategy in Plato’s Apology”, “If he cannot quash the rumor against him, he can at least reshape the image connected with it (9).” Socrates’ use of rhetoric stems from his ability to transform the language and arguments of those who are accusing him. He opens his argument with the statement, “That they were not ashamed to be immediately proved wrong by the facts, when I show myself not to be an accomplished speaker at all, that I thought was most shameless on their part - unless indeed they call an accomplished speaker the man who speaks the truth (21).” Socrates starts his reasoning by taking over his accusers image, and making them out not only to be wrong, but to be shameful as well. In addition, Socrates begins to associate his image with the idea of truth. He pushes this association further, as he continually refers to the accusations as lies and slander. In doing so Socrates creates two contrasting images, truth versus lies. This black and white portrayal of himself and his accusers creates a clear moral divide between the two, from which Socrates emerges as the more virtuous, trustworthy