The Gorgias: The Value Of A Good Life

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What makes one do a good deed? What makes one a kind human being? Let 's say a man is walking and trips, and another man walks over to help him up. What made that man come over to help the other of the ground? Or, there is a hurricane in Louisiana that destroyed thousands of homes for thousands of families. People from all around the country head to Louisiana bringing aid and supplies to those faced with this disaster. What made them help those suffering? People do not only do good things based on the idea that it will make their souls look prestine for the afterlife. In fact, the afterlife is not on the mind of people when they are helping another. Acting as a just human being would not end based on an argument pertaining to the afterlife.…show more content…
Virtue is the central theme of the work, and virtue itself is the ‘good life’ as described by Socrates which results from the proper practices of several principles. The argument Socrates makes about one living a life of virtue and righteousness over that of a power hungry tyrant does not focus itself around the concept of an afterlife as a reward. Socrates makes several arguments throughout the dialogue that progressively build to explain what a good life entails, and does not rely on the idea that an afterlife has to be present for one to desire to live a life of virtue.
Plato’s concluding story holds Socrates discussing the myth of death. To Socrates, dying is the souls separation from the body. When one dies there is a seperation of the two selves, and a judgement is made determining whether one is good or evil. Most people who have lived in power are found guilty in this judgement because a beautiful body or beautiful words can no longer disguise an evil soul. In the end, Socrates states that “this is the best way of life- to live and die in the pursuit of righteousness and all other virtues”
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These points made throughout the Gorgias cannot be faltered by the idea that there is no afterlife. It’s like stringing facts together and interjecting a single opinion. Regardless if that opinion turns out to be incorrect, those facts that surrounded it are still fact. So looking at Socrates’ argument, he makes excellent points and even if an afterlife was proven to be nonexistent, those points remain valid. The Gorgias did not centralize its purpose or validity around the construct of an afterlife. If Plato were to remove the concluding story entirely, it would not be the downfall of Socrates’ argument, nor with Plato keeping the section did it undermine his argument if an afterlife were not factual. Clearly by the topics discussed above, the idea of an afterlife was not a major concern for that of the argument. Throughout a majority of the dialogue this idea was not a blip on the radar of any of the men in the conversation. By the time Socrates makes his declaration of the afterlife, his initial argument has concluded. He has already properly discussed that one should lead a life a virtue over a life of tyranny. The afterlife was a nice addition for the times in which this work was written but was not the idea that this argument was based
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