Because rhetoric is a public art capable of shaping opinion, some of the ancients including Plato found fault in it. They claimed that while it could be used to improve civic life, it could be used equally easily to deceive or manipulate with negative effects on the city. The masses were incapable of analyzing or deciding anything on their own and would therefore be swayed by the most persuasive speeches. Thus, civic life could be controlled by the one who could deliver the best speech. Plato explores the problematic moral status of rhetoric twice: in Gorgias , a dialogue named for the famed Sophist, and in The Phaedrus , a dialogue best known for its commentary on love. This concern is still maintained to nowadays.
contains definitions and examples of more than sixty
rhetorical devices, (including rhetorical tropes and rhetorical
figures) all of which can still be useful today to improve the
effectiveness, clarity, and enjoyment of your writing. Note: This book
was written in 1980, with some changes since. The devices presented are
not in alphabetical order. To go directly to the discussion of a
device, click on the name below. If you know these already, go directly
to the Self Test . To learn
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with Clarity and Style ,
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