Taking the form of a dialogue among Socrates, Gorgias, Polus, and Callicles, the Gorgias debates crucial questions about the nature of government. While the aspiring politician Callicles propounds the view that might is right, and the rhetorician Gorgias argues that oratory and the power to persuade represent "the greatest good," Socrates insists on the duty of politicians to consider the welfare of their citizens--a duty he believed had been dishonored in the Athens of his time. The dialogue offers fascinating insights into how classical Athens was governed and creates a theoretical framework that has been highly influential on subsequent political debate.
Walter Hamilton taught at Cambridge, Eton and Rugby and translated several Platonic texts for Penguin. Chris Emlyn-Jones teaches in the department of Classical Studies at the Open University and has published on Homer and Plato.