Defining virtue and its attainment comprise what is arguably THE central theme of both Gorgias and Plato's lifelong philosophical quest. Somewhat surprisingly, though, Socrates does not define this notion independently within the dialogue, but instead frames its nature by reference to other qualities he has worked to establish. In this light, virtue may be viewed as a composition of crucial topics: power, justice, temperance—all of which are associated with the good. Put differently, virtue is itself the 'good life', which results from proper practice of these various principles and behavioral methods. Considered from this perspective, then, the range of individual arenas of inquiry and subsequent discoveries about them here undertaken by Socrates melt into this more overarching, abstract notion.

This extrapolation towards virtue should not seem surprising, however, when placed in the context of Plato's life. To start, the war, corruption, and (wrongful) execution of Socrates for which Plato's government is responsible must have heavily influenced the thinker's search for virtue. The correlation between these historical aspects of Athens and the time of the dialogue's writing simply is too tight to deny. Moreover, each of Plato's dialogues almost without exception questions various aspects of proper living and what constitutes a good life. When taken together, Plato's entire body of creation looks to comprise an extremely comprehensive, long-term inquiry into the nature of virtuous living. Just as an understanding of abstract virtue gradually emerges from more specific sub-topics within Gorgias, so too does a general treatise on a complete life of virtue embody a unity among all Platonic dialogues.