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Rhetorical Strategies: Part 2 - Issue Theory and Parts of Oration

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York University
EN 1006
Rosita Georgieva

Lecture 6 Notes Rhetorical Strategies Part II – Issue Theory and Parts of Oration 1. Key Terms in Classical Rhetoric covered by Aristotle and ps.-Cicero --Some of them started by Aristotle but elaborated and developed by other rhetoricians The topoi – teach us where to look for arguments Issue theory (and its four divisions) -- how to approach a certain issue or problem The 6 parts of oration – provide us with the very structure of oratory The 5 canons of rhetoric/oratory – the requirements for delivering a successful speech The Five Canons or Officia (duties) of Oratory: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery Invention (inventio) Inventio is the Latin term for “invention” and “discovery”; it is mainly about discovering arguments; about figuring out what to say; Arrangement (dispositio) --about a good organizational strategy; about the effective arrangement of the various parts of a written or spoken discourse Style (elocutio); Style -- the unique, individual way in which human beings use language to express their thoughts and feelings three levels of style were known in the classical period: low or plain style – meant to instruct middle or forcible style – to move high or florid style – to charm Style involves how you put words and sentences together; how you consider tone, diction, decorum, grammar, punctuation, and a choice of words that concerns: correctness, purity (use of native words vs. foreign), simplicity, clearness, appropriateness, etc. Memory (memoria) Concerns the use of memory in finding material for argument; the bigger the storage of knowledge in your head, the easier you will speak Delivery (pronuntiatio) -- The very presentation of the material – how you manage your voice (pitch, volume, emphasis, pausing) and whether you speak clearly, what kind of gestures, eye and facial expressions you use, good pronunciation and articulation, the physical outlook of your presentation, etc. Topoi and Topical Invention The Greek word “topos” (singular) and “topoi” (plural) translates into English as “topics”. In rhetoric, topos is the place where one looks for arguments and possible ways of explaining ideas and developing their subject Aristotle identified two types of topoi: ● common topics: those common to any subject or genre of oratory; that could be used for any occasion or speech ● special topics: those specific to a certain subject matter or genre; for example, those used exclusively in the court of law, in the forum, or in ceremonial speeches) Common Topics Where can we find arguments or starting points of invention? Aristotle lists several examples of common topics including: ● Definition ● Comparison ● Magnitude ● Inflection Special Topics --Important topics in judicial oratory include: Just vs. injust Good vs. bad Happy vs. unhappy Lawful vs. unlawful Written law vs. tradition Individual vs. community Intentional vs. unintentional (these are issues to think about when we write about, for example, about today’s health care, how the health system may be an advantage for an individual but not for the community; then we use the individual vs. community special topic) --In deliberative oratory: Persuasion vs. dissuasion expedient vs. honorable words vs. deeds --In epideictic: Noble vs. ignoble Praise vs, blame 2. The Greco-Roman World and Rhetoric th What was the status of Hellenic rhetoric after the 4 c. BC? --due to the loss of civic independence the judicial and deliberative ora
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