Tragic persuasion and early Greek rhetoric [electronic resource].

Bromberg, Jacques A.
265 p.
Contained In:
Dissertation Abstracts International 70-10A.

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Theater -- History.
Classical literature.
Local subjects:
Penn dissertations -- Classical studies. (search)
Classical studies -- Penn dissertations. (search)
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Mode of access: World Wide Web.
This study aims to reassess the relationship between Classical Tragedy and Rhetoric, by arguing that tragic texts were significant sites of experimentation and innovation in persuasive speechmaking and debate. Chapter 1 summarizes the state of the field, challenging the existence of a rhetorical discipline in the fifth century and questioning the problematic use of the word "rhetoric" to describe pre-Platonic texts. The influence of poetry on early prose style indicates the degree to which early theorists relied on poetic models, and establishes a link between poetry and persuasion, which the later chapters will pursue. In Chapter 2, the role of Tragedy within the "Greek Enlightenment" of the fifth-century is re-examined with attention to the contributions of the tragedians to contemporary, progressive inquiries into human motive and responsibility, and secular causation. Chapter 3, then, scrutinizes the prose of Antiphon and Gorgias in light of poetic (particularly tragic) forms of persuasion. Gorgias is the theorist whose style of persuasion most obviously depends on traditional poetry, but Antiphon too employs persuasive figures that suggest common poetic appeals. Chapter 4 returns the focus to Euripides, who has been frequently interpreted in terms of the influence of rhetoric, and to Aristophanes, in whose works Euripides first garnered this reputation and whose Clouds is key to the history of a persuasive discipline. A new approach is offered to Euripides' dramatic debates, which scholars have often condemned as irrelevant to the dramatic plots. By calling attention to the role of tragedy in the development of persuasive techniques, I make a new defense against the charge of rhetorical "irrelevance" in Euripidean drama. Finally, Chapter 5 examines the legacy of tragic persuasion in the rhetorical theories of Plato and Aristotle. The discussion focuses on Aristotle's theory of technical proof, particularly character ( ethos) and emotion (pathos), and scrutinizes the abundant quotations from Tragedy in the Rhetoric. I conclude that Aristotle's affinity for tragic examples is one sign of the debt owed by generations of rhetorical theorists to an understanding of persuasion shaped by Tragedy.
Thesis (Ph.D. in Classical Studies) -- University of Pennsylvania, 2009.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 70-10, Section: A, page: 3840.
Adviser: Sheila Murnaghan.
Local notes:
School code: 0175.
Murnaghan, Sheila, advisor
University of Pennsylvania.
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Restricted for use by site license.