RHETOR 103A Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Siege Of Melos, Symbolic Speech, Thersites

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3 Dec 2017
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RHETORIC MIDTERM 1 STUDY GUIDE
Themes
- Rhetoric
- Narrow def: art of making speech persuasive
- Wider def: communication by speech or by writing
- Speech art theory: language as more than content, includes tone, context, value
(affirm or dissent, praise or blame) etc
- An utterance is never free of style; language always has an angle/ a point - no
such thing as non-rhetorical language (even by asking if language can be
rhetorical you are aware that language is discourse with some aim)
- Pythagoras’ method shows essence of rhetoric: hide behind curtain and lecture
- Rhetoric is aesthetic (used to manage appearances), seductive (creates illusion
of something behind the scene), and creates a pretense of depth (hide meaning)
- Metalanguage plays important role in everyday life
- Not art of persuasion and often the art of dissuasion
- Homer’s of hero rarely persuade
- Achilles not convinced to go back and fight the Trojans by
Agamemnon’s messenger (9.355 - unwilling to fight, 9.375 “let him
[agamemnon] not beguile me with words again)
- Martin: each hero is a kind of speaker
- (Toye 2) Cannot and should not ignore, but see into rhetoric - requires
overcoming of prejudices and preconceptions
-LOGOS VS. ERGON = Relation between appearance and reality/ seeming and being/
language and reality/ words and things/ thought and actuality/ what is and how we
describe it
- Logos: rational/ reason, story, tradition, argument, speech VS. ergon: fact, action,
battle war
- Homer 1.488-92: when Ac withdraws from battle, also withdraws from speech
- 9.312-3: Ac recognizes that one can hide one thing in heart and speak something
else > gap between L/E presents lies and deception
- Homer 2.40: FO, on A, wealth the gathway to action (ergon) not the
subject of boasting talk> but ironically boasting about not boasting
- Thucydides grapples with this dichotomy
- T praised for realism: but is he being historical or rhetorical? Or is history itself
rhetorical?
- T/G want attention paid not to the beliefs, but the conditions/ intent of belief in the
unlimited power of logos to persuade
- P war demonstrates the danger of bias introduced by the Athenocentric
view
- Antiphon also notes the danger of ethnocentric bias - we are born not as
Greeks or as barbarians, but share the same emotions
- 1.10: size of expedition cannot be underestimated because of appearance
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- Points out the exaggeration of poets, trying to usurp and replace Homer by
claiming his work to be the possession for all time
- BUT T himself does not always give the facts in a straightforward manner
- 1.20: men show uncritical acceptance of passed down oral tradition, so hard to
verify the past - what appears to be true because of surrounding beliefs are
deemed to be reality
- Power of appearance (2.23): real reason for the P war was the growth of
Athenian power and Spartan fear about it
- Book 2 Funeral oration: state funeral appears to be about the dead, but is more
concerned with glorifying Athens
- 2.63: create appearance of danger and risk of losing Athens > inspire
people to fight for and defend it
- (2) the custom of selecting an intellectual man as appropriate to present
the eulogy shows the concern over presenting a good reputation of
Athens, as opposed to invite a soldier in battle to speak, arguably more
appropriate
- (2) Pericles does acknowledge the limitations of speech in doing justice to
actions, but he must follow the custom
- 2.40 “wealth for us is the gateway to action, not the subject of boastful talk
- Logos more significant than ergon in that language itself can do deeds
- Language as productive and creative force - creates reality (see below)
- Loraux (26): the self-servingness of the FO- “to praise any Athenian is to praise
all Athenian); (27) institution of FO in which symbolic speech to praise the dead
encroaches on the function of praising present Athenians; (28) Fo serve as
history and eliminated need for written chronological account until second of 4th c
- show how appearance taken for reality
- The irony of using FO to create and enhance a narrative as reality
is further extended as politicians utilize Athenian oration by
adapting it to the needs of history and historians find in texts
evidence that echo their own preoccupations (31-32) - use of text
to their own, predetermined end
- Homer: Self-awareness and aggrandizement- complimenting himself when he
has heroes say the importance of his deeds being commemorated in the
embellishment rather than description of reality; sees himself as hero
- Homer: context changes meaning: epithets (swift foot Ac before battle and
refusing to fight - alter meaning of each norm attached to)
- Swift feet Achilles not going into battle because anger (1.488-92)
- Parry says that formulaic character of greek epic verse in Homer shows
everything in his world commonly perceived, accepted; a unity of experience (3)
- Agreed upon moral standards and values of life - hero’s morality includes
making oneself worthy of other paying honor by deeds of valor, and his
awareness of imminent death (3)
- In Homer, speech reflects reality - no gap between the two (5)
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- Achilles hints that appearances may be misleading - Book 9 speaks of
hatred against Ag, concern with distance between expectation and reality
>not accepting of the common language, but has no language to express
disillusionment so asks questions that cannot be answered and demands
that cannot be met (not true!)
- Flawed reading! Heroes not share the same world view but are all
struggling to understand their own circumstances and to attain a
worldview - questioning the values that delineates a hero, heroes shares
questions and struggles
- Thersites get knocked down for the same things said by Achilles
- Willingness to conflate appearance and reality
- In Aspasia’s pretend oration (Menexenus, pg 13): if the fathers of dead
soldiers behave courageously, will be seen as really fathers of
courageous men; otherwise, generate suspicion
- This parodies the effect of FO - satiricize?
- Thucydides: Funeral Oration shows Athenocentrism (book 2 pg 3: Athens as a
government does not emulate, but set examples to neighbors as a model
democracy)
- Exaggeration because Pericles says that Athens emphasizes a concept
of doing good - make friends by conferring benefit and help without self
interest (2.40), but it is obvious that in the Melian dialogue, the only way
they would “make friends” with the people of melos was that they
surrender to their demands and allow them to be enslaved and
demonstrates strong self interest - “strong do what they will and weak ….”
- Principles during funeral oration completely invalidated by rhetoric in
talking to the Melians
- Contradiction between love for courage and bravery and urging of
Melians not to think about appearing cowardly and dishonorable if they
surrender (Melian dialogue section 100), but care about survival - instead
of encouraging them to emulate the athenian virtue of bravery, asking
them to focus solely on self interest
- Athens tells Melians that they should not choose war over security
because of pride (Melian section 111) > BUT Athenians likely would
choose war over security because of pride - in fact they often do so and
openly proclaim their greatest desire is to eliminate the enemies (FO pg
6)
- Pericles is a student of a sophist named Damon (O’Grady 12)
- The idea of legacy
- Heros in Homer - poets to sing praises
- T, 2.43: men as individuals rewarded with praise “which does not grow old” and
the most glorious of tombs, the earth, where fame lives on for speech and
ceremony - also unwritten memories in the heart
- Sexism / appearance versus reality
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Document Summary

Narrow def: art of making speech persuasive. Wider def: communication by speech or by writing. Speech art theory: language as more than content, includes tone, context, value. Pythagoras" method shows essence of rhetoric: hide behind curtain and lecture. Rhetoric is aesthetic (used to manage appearances), seductive (creates illusion of something behind the scene), and creates a pretense of depth (hide meaning) Metalanguage plays important role in everyday life. Not art of persuasion and often the art of dissuasion. Achilles not convinced to go back and fight the trojans by. Martin: each hero is a kind of speaker (toye 2) cannot and should not ignore, but see into rhetoric - requires overcoming of prejudices and preconceptions. Logos: rational/ reason, story, tradition, argument, speech vs. ergon: fact, action, battle war. 9. 312-3: ac recognizes that one can hide one thing in heart and speak something else > gap between l/e presents lies and deception.

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