In Plato's Gorgias, Plato thinks it is important to explain what oratory is because he wants to question the ethical value or substance behind oratory's nature and function. In 500c of the Gorgias, Socrates makes the defining statement that the "discussion is about the way we"re supposed to live" and therefore he enlightens the audience as to what Plato's main objective is in creating the Gorgias itself. The primary participants in the dialogue are Socrates, who represents Plato's own views, and Gorgias, Polus, and Callicles, who represent the views of the Sophists. Through Socrates" dialogue with Gorgias, Polus, and Callicles, his revealed assumption that there are objective standards in morality exposes the orators" "art", belief, and ability to reach true happiness as it is related to pleasure and virtue. .
We then learn that Gorgias is convinced that oratory commands the power of all the other arts and that he believes that the orator is overall more persuasive than the actual practitioner of an art due to the skills and ability he possesses to speak persuasively on any topic. Like most Sophists, Gorgias is not at all concerned with the truth of his propositions. Rather, his main goal is to show that through the use of oratory, one could make "almost any position seem plausible" (Russo 1). He placed great importance on the power of speech and claimed that the orator must appeal at all times to the feelings of his listeners to lead them where he will. Through his use of persuasive language, the orator believes he has "complete control over the convictions of his audience" (Russo 1). .
After some speculation it is then brought up that the speeches made by the orator are merely speeches about speeches. But not all speeches, because the speeches that discuss only the subject matter of another art belong to that other art and not to the art of oratory (449e-451d). What is left for oratory when speeches about all the arts are not oratorical speeches after all? Gorgias tells Socrates that the speeches used by oratory are about "the greats of human affairs and the best" (451d).