Aristotle's Rhetoric
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Book III - Chapter 19


The Epilogue has four parts. You must (1) make the audience well-disposed towards yourself and ill-disposed towards your opponent (2) magnify or minimize the leading facts, (3) excite the required state of emotion in your hearers, and (4) refresh their memories.

(1) Having shown your own truthfulness and the untruthfulness of your opponent, the natural thing is to commend yourself, censure him, and hammer in your points. You must aim at one of two objects -- you must make yourself out a good man and him a bad one either in yourselves or in relation to your hearers. How this is to be managed -- by what lines of argument you are to represent people as good or bad -- this has been already explained.

(2) The facts having been proved, the natural thing to do next is to magnify or minimize their importance. The facts must be admitted before you can discuss how important they are; just as the body cannot grow except from something already present. The proper lines of argument to be used for this purpose of amplification and depreciation have already been set forth.

(3) Next, when the facts and their importance are clearly understood, you must excite your hearers' emotions. These emotions are pity, indignation, anger, hatred, envy, emulation, pugnacity. The lines of argument to be used for these purposes also have been previously mentioned.

(4) Finally you have to review what you have already said. Here you may properly do what some wrongly recommend doing in the introduction -- repeat your points frequently so as to make them easily understood. What you should do in your introduction is to state your subject, in order that the point to be judged may be quite plain; in the epilogue you should summarize the arguments by which your case has been proved. The first step in this reviewing process is to observe that you have done what you undertook to do. You must, then, state what you have said and why you have said it. Your method may be a comparison of your own case with that of your opponent; and you may compare either the ways you have both handled the same point or make your comparison less direct: "My opponent said so-and-so on this point; I said so-and-so, [1420a] and this is why I said it." Or with modest irony, e.g. "He certainly said so-and-so, but I said so-and-so." Or "How vain he would have been if he had proved all this instead of that!" Or put it in the form of a question. "What has not been proved by me?" or "What has my opponent proved?" You may proceed then, either in this way by setting point against point, [1420b] or by following the natural order of the arguments as spoken, first giving your own, and then separately, if you wish, those of your opponent.

For the conclusion, the disconnected style of language is appropriate, and will mark the difference between the oration and the peroration. "I have done. You have heard me. The facts are before you. I ask for your judgement."

-- The End --

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Lee Honeycutt ( Last modified:3/15/04