This article seeks to present a detailed textual analysis of Protagoras’ Great Speech in Plato's Protagoras (320c–328d). I will argue that the concept of ἀρετή (‘excellence’ or ‘virtue’) as it appears in the Great Speech is whittled down to a vague notion of civic duty. In this respect, Protagoras is bringing himself in line with the democracy, but in doing so the ἀρετή he claims to teach loses much of its initial appeal, particularly in the eyes of his aristocratic clientele. Nevertheless, if the content of Protagoras’ Great Speech overlooks the abilities required to rise to political prominence, the form most assuredly does not. As one would expect from Plato's Protagoras, his speech is replete with just that oratorical prowess his students might expect to acquire from him. This, in turn, has a number of interesting and important implications in the broader context of the Protagoras, in particular regarding the contrast or conflict between long speeches and short-answer dialectic. Moreover, although it has long been noticed that Protagoras neglects rhetoric and personal pre-eminence in his account, as far as I know there has not been any serious attempt to analyse the stylistic aspects of this masterful speech. Accordingly, both this and (to a large extent) my attempt to interpret it within the economy of the dialogue are original.