Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews March 8, 2024
March 1, 2024
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
Throughout this dialogue, as well as in many of Plato's other works, the notion of artful pursuits comes up rather frequently. Essentially, an art is a skill directed towards some form of the good and intended for the benefit of those practicing and/or those on whom a particular art is practiced. In this sense for example, medicine is an art because it aims at improving the physical health of those for whom a specific treatment is prescribed, while serving alcohol is not as it creates a deceptive impression of physical health grounded in the bodily pleasure of intoxication
In Gorgias, Socrates first mentions the notion of art as part of an inquiry into the nature of rhetoric. In discussing this topic, he distinguishes between true arts (defined above) and false ones (routine/flattery) which create an incorrect impression of good by means of the pleasant (which Socrates later defines as different from—and less desirable than—the good).
This distinction becomes increasingly relevant as the dialogue progresses, since Socrates maintains that most of his contemporary Greeks and Athenians have been led astray from the path of virtue exactly because they mistake false routines of pleasure for true arts of good. Consequently, for Socrates's fellow citizens, the nature of politics, justice, power, good living and the like is based upon a fundamental conflation of true and false arts corresponding to a belief that the pleasant equals the good. The entire text considers how this confusion of art with flattery manifests itself, and as such it adds great strength to Plato's overall philosophical project of defining virtuous existence.