Chapter

The Orator and His Audience: The Rhetorical Perspective in the Art of Deliberation

Valentina Arena

in Community and Communication

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199641895
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746130 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641895.003.0012
The Orator and His Audience: The Rhetorical Perspective in the Art of Deliberation

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This chapter explores how oratorical audiences were portrayed in works that were specifically meant to function as a means of practical guidance to the study of rhetoric. According to Cicero, the ultimate power lay with the audience who would proclaim the orator’s success or failure by agreeing or rejecting his description of affairs. In these rhetorical texts, the audience is portrayed as holding this power by virtue of its prudentia, the attribute that elsewhere, Cicero reserves for the gubernator rei publicae. Moreover, emotion and reason are not necessarily in conflict. By a close analysis of rational means of persuasion, this essay will shed light on the way in which the process of persuasion was perceived in the late Republic: the function of rhetorical handbooks was to provide the speaker with proper, useful, ammunition to persuade a real, concrete, audience.

Keywords: oratory; audience; rhetorical handbooks; Cicero; emotional appeal; rational argument

Chapter.  7249 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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