Hippias of Elis travels throughout the Greek world practicing and teaching the art of making beautiful speeches. On a rare visit to Athens, he meets Socrates, who questions him about the nature of his art. Socrates is especially curious about how Hippias would define beauty. They agree that beauty makes all beautiful things beautiful, but when Socrates presses him to say precisely what he means, Hippias is unable to deliver such a definition. The more Socrates probes, the more absurd the responses from Hippias become.
This is one of Plato's best comedies and one of his finest efforts at posing the philosophical problem of the difference between particular things and universal qualities.