Defense On Behalf Of Palamedes Essay, Research Paper
In “Defense on Behalf of Palamedes”, Gorgias attempts to prove Palamedes
is innocent by making his defense in every possible way. He does this by
using evidence about Palamedes, evidence that has direct relation to the
person, his actions, and the way he has lived his life so far.
A major piece of evidence used is the fact that Palamedes did not have
the physical ability to commit this crime. He goes on to say that there had
to be some sort of meeting or discussion. And intern to the meeting there
had to be a third person to witness anything hidden?where are all these
people. He adds that there had to be men to help him, free or slaves. The
free men he knows are among him at the time and he says that it is not
credible that he would use slaves. He goes through these facts and others to
support his claim.
Another piece of evidence used by Gorgias is that there is no reason
Palamedes would have to commit this crime. What would he have to gain? To
rule over them or the barbarians either option is preposterous. He couldn’t
rule over the men he stands before, for they are of higher stature than he
is. And the barbarians, no one will betray them. He also offers “past life
evidence that I am speaking the truth, and you be witnesses to the witness,
for you are my companions and thus know these things”.
He eventually addresses the accuser, asking him if he knows accurately
what he is saying or is he just making it up. Furthermore he wants to know
where, if anywhere, this knowledge came from?either from “seeing or
participating or learning from someone *who was participating*”. He proceeds
to address the way Palamedes was accused.
He was accused of two entirely opposite things, wisdom and madness. If
one is wise he cannot be mad. And in this accusation both are brought up.
“If therefore I am wise, I have not errd; if I have errd, I am not wise.
Thus in both cases you are wrong.”
All of the evidence provided above is presented in a very precise manner.
Gorgias keeps pressing the issue of importance that Palamedes is not a man
who could do this. Through his speech and repertoire he is trying to
persuade his audience that he is correct. To close his argument Gorgias
praises the judges by not recapping on what he said, for that is only logical
for bad judges. And these Greeks before him are the first of the first and
will remember it all.