RHETOR 103A Study Guide - Final Guide: Isocrates

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13 Dec 2017
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Rhetoric 103A Final Study
What role does gender play in ancient rhetorical theory and practice?
In ancient times, thinkers and authors reveal in their works the interplay and dependence on
masculine and female tropes on each other; while males are presented as strong, independent
beings, females are defined and valued as necessary means to further of ends of society.
-Depictions of female characters as war prizes, grieving mothers and widows, and the
unifier of Greece
-Reveal how women in battle are reduced as pure means, lacking in agency and deprived
of an independent existence separate from their roles in service of men’s objectives.
Homer: women as prizes, men are victors
- Chyseis and Briseis never speak
- Their importance lies in their status as objects - precious for men war prizes
- But they are not the ultimate ends, the bigger picture of the men’s desire for honor and
glory
- Achilles does not want the women when they are returned to him, he is angry because
Agammenon had already hurt his pride and damaged his ego, rendering him inferior in
the eyes of fellow warriors. So, the women are not the ultimate means, they only
represent men’s ability to position himself to other men as superior in war, even among
warriors fighting for the same side
Thucydides: (funeral oration) fathers/sons/brothers reactions vs. mothers and wives
- Encourage people who can still reproduce to do so - mothers and widows
- Literal means - physical and material reproduction of men who are able to go into
war
- Women’s being and role constituted by their ability to create men
- “If i may speak also of the duty of those wives who will now be widows, a brief
exhortation will say it all. Your great virtue is to show no more weakness than is inherent
in your nature, and to cause least talk among male for either praise or blame”
(Thucydides 45)
- Reducing to women to people who abide to societal expectations not seek praise - agents
to sticking to the place of women, not draw attention away from the men
Isocrates: Helen as unifier (figure for rhetoric) but men fighting for Athens and behalf of greece
Greek identity is because of war, catalysed
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Document Summary

Depictions of female characters as war prizes, grieving mothers and widows, and the. Reveal how women in battle are reduced as pure means, lacking in agency and deprived unifier of greece of an independent existence separate from their roles in service of men"s objectives. But they are not the ultimate ends, the bigger picture of the men"s desire for honor and. Achilles does not want the women when they are returned to him, he is angry because. Thucydides: (funeral oration) fathers/sons/brothers reactions vs. mothers and wives. Encourage people who can still reproduce to do so - mothers and widows war. Literal means - physical and material reproduction of men who are able to go into. Women"s being and role constituted by their ability to create men. Reducing to women to people who abide to societal expectations not seek praise - agents. Isocrates: helen as unifier (figure for rhetoric) but men fighting for athens and behalf of greece.

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