Monday, October 11, 2010

Quintilian's Figures of Speech

One of the best texts that lists and describes rhetorical figures of speech from the first century is Quintilian's Institutio Oratoria.  The following is his list of figures with definitions and some examples.

Quintilian on Figures of Speech and Thought.  All Citations from Institutio Oratoria.

I.    Tropes: the artistic alteration of a word or phrase from its proper meaning to another.
  1.    Metaphor (Translatio): A noun or a verb is transferred from the place to which it properly belongs to another where there is either no literal term or the transferred is better than the literal. A shorter form of simile. If it is correctly and appropriately applied, it is quite impossible for its effect to be commonplace, mean or unpleasing. Purposes: because it is necessary, makes our point more clear, or for decorative purposes, move the feelings, give special distinction to things, and to place them vividly before our eyes. Four classes:
    a.    Substitute one living thing for another
    b.    Inanimate substituted for inanimate
    c.    Inanimate substituted for animate
    d.    Animate substituted for inanimate (8.6.4-18)
  2.    Synechdoche: realize many things from one, the whole from the part, the genus from the species, things which follow from things which proceeded and vice versa. (8.6.19-22)
  3.    Metonymy: the substitution of one name for another: i.e., substituting the name of the inventor for the object invented, or a possession by substituting the name of the possessor. “Ceres spoiled by water.” (Ceres for agriculture or grain). (8.6.23-28)
  4.    Autonomasia: substitutes something else for a proper name. (8.6.29-30)
  5.    Onomatopoea: creation of a word which sounds like the thing it describes. Accepted among the Greeks, rare among the Romans. (8.31-37)
  6.    Metalipsis or Transumption: provides a transition from one trope to another: Calling Χείρων the centaur Ἥσσων. (Both of which mean inferior). (8.6.38-39).
  7.    Epithet: rare in oratory, solely for ornament, an epithet cannot stand by itself, but only stands with the proper name (8.6.40-43)
  8.    Allegory or Inversio: Presents one thing in words and another in meaning, or something absolutely opposed to the meaning of the words (often uses metaphor). (8.6.44-53)
    a.    Irony or Illusio:  (Under the category of Allegory) When the meaning is contrary to the words uttered, understood from context or delivery. Gives the following Greek words as the same concept: σαρκασμός· ἀστεϊσμός· ἀντίφρασις· παροιμία (sarcasm, urbane wit, contradiction, proverbs) (8.6.54-59).
  9.    Periphrasis: Circuitous form of speech, using a number of words to describe something for which only a few are needed, i.e., “to meet the demands of nature” from Sallust. (8.6.59-61)
  10.    Hyperbaton: the transposition of a word from its natural order. (8.6.62-67)
     a.    Anastrophe: if used of only two words.
  11.    Hyperbole: The elegant straining of the truth, for exaggeration or attenuation. (8.6.67-76).

II.    Figures (σχήματα): “we must interpret schema (figure) in the sense of that which is poetically or rhetorically altered from the simple and obvious method of expression… We shall then take figure to mean a form of expression to which a new aspect is given by art” (9.1.13-14). Differs from trope in that trope is a change of word or phrase from its normal meaning, and figure adds to language an aspect according to the arrangement or order of words used in their proper sense. Two types: Figures of thought and figures of speech.

III.    Figures of Thought
  1.    Anticipation: where we forestall objections as to what we are about to say. (9.2.16-18)
  2.    Aporia: feigned hesitation, to be at a loss, ask advice from the audience (Quintilian does not use the term aporia, he uses communication, paradox, surprise) (9.2.20-25)
  3.    Exclamation: figure intensifying emotion, feigning that we are angry, glad, afraid, filled with wonder, grief, or indignation. (9.2.26-27)
  4.    License (parhessia): free speech, claiming to speak freely, hoping for praise based on the courage to do so. (9.2.27-29)
  5.    Impersonation (προσωποποιια): the display of inner thoughts of our adversaries as though they were talking with themselves, or as conversations of ourselves with others, putting words of advice, reproach, complaint, praise, or pity into the mouths of appropriate persons. (Some call this sermocinatio). (9.2.29-37).
  6.    Ellipse: Deliberate omission of any indication of who is speaking. (9.2.37)
  7.    Apostrophe: Turn from one audience to another, in direct address, either to an opponent, or the gods, etc. (9.2.38-39).
  8.    Ocular Demonstration: describing an action or setting in detail, setting before the eyes (Some call this vivid illustration, and others υποτυπωσις). (9.2.40-44).
  9.    Irony: understanding the opposite of what was said. With a trope, the irony is not hidden, but is completely out in the open, as in the following, “rejected by him, you migrated to your boon companion, that excellent gentleman, Metellus,” in which the irony lies in two words (virum optimum). In the figurative form the speaker disguises his entire meaning, more than just words, the entire situation may be contrary to the intended meaning. (9.2.44-51)
  10.    Antiphrasis: pretending to pass over that which we then mention briefly, as in “why should I mention his decrees, his acts of plunder, his acquisition, whether by cession or force, of certain inheritances.” (9.2.47-48)
  11.    Confession: confession of a fact that in no way harms our case (9.2.51)
  12.    Concession: when we pretend to admit something actually unfavorable to ourselves by way of showing our confidence in our cause, for example, in Cicero, speaking of the prejudice against his client, “let it prevail in the public assembly, but be silent in the courts of law.” (9.2.51)
  13.    Aposiopesis (reticentia, oblicentia, interruptio): used to indicate passion or anger or anxiety, the unexpected breaking off of argument in mid sentence/thought, as in the following, “for as regards all of us—I do not dare complete the sentence.” (9.2.54-55)
  14.    Digression: Leaving off the original topic for a different tangential topic (9.2.55-57)
  15.    Ethopoia, Ηθοποιια· μιμησις: imitation of other person’s characteristics, serves to excite the gentler emotions. Usually consists in banter, but may be concerned with words or deeds (9.2.58-63)
  16.    Emphasis: when some hidden meaning is extracted from some phrase, as in Virgil: “Might I not have lived from wedlock free, a life without stain, happy as beasts are happy?” For although Dido complains of marriage, yet her passionate outburst shows that she regards life without wedlock as no life for man, but for the beasts of the field. (9.2.64-65)
  17.    Comparison: Quintilian compares two people and how they act and spend their time. (9.2.100-101)

IV.    Figures of Speech (two classes: in the form of the language and in the arrangement of words. The former are technically errors, and would be so if not deliberate): Figures relieve us from the tedium of everyday speech and save us from commonplace language. (9.3.1)
  1.    Parenthesis (interposition, interclusio, paremptosis): interruption of the continuous flow of our language by the insertion of some remark. (9.3.23-24)
  2.    Apostrophe: breaking off the normal flow of thought, for an address to a different audience, as follows, “The Marii and Camilii, names of might, the Scipios, stubborn warriors, aye, and thee, Great Caesar.” (9.3.23-24)
Figures of Addition:
  3.    Doubling (epanalepsis): repeating the same word twice in a row, (or on both ends of a parenthesis). (9.3.28-29)
  4.    Anaphora: (Quintilian describes the figure, but does not give it a name): a number of clauses begin with the same word, i.e., “were you unmoved by the guard set each night upon the Palatine, unmoved by the patrolling of the city, unmoved by the terror of the people, etc…” (9.3.30)
  5.    Antistrophe: (Quintilian describes the figure, but does not give it a name):  clauses that end with the same word (9.3.30-31)
  6.    Interlacement, Conplexio, Prosapodosis: (Quintilian describes the figure, but does not give it a name):  Using the same beginning and ending words in successive clauses, i.e., “who demanded them? Appius. Who produced them? Appius. (9.3.31)
  7.    Επανοδος, Regression: reiterating the same words while further distinguishing meaning, the repetition may also serve to mark a contrast. i.e., Iphitus too, with me and Pelius came, Iphitus bowed with age and Pelias Slow-Limping with the would Ulysses gave.” (9.3.35-36)
  8.    Polyptoton, πολυπτωτον: the cases of the words changed, i.e., “Pater hic tuus? Patrem nunc appellas? Patris tui filius? (9.3.36-37)
  9.    Anadiplosis: repetition of a word which ends a clause at the beginning of the next clause, i.e., “yet this man lives. Lives?” and again, “And ye, Pierian Muses, shall enhance their worth for Gallus, Gallus, he for whom each hour my love burns stronger. (9.3.44-45)
  10.    Pleonasm, Synonymy: the repetition of the same thought in different words, i.e., you have decided, you have passed sentence, you have given judgment,” and again, “he departed, he went, he burst forth, he was gone. (9.3.45-46).
  11.    Polysyndeton: use of many connecting particles. May repeat the same conjunctions, or use different ones. (9.3.50-54)
  12.    Gradation/Climax: repeats what has already been said and, before passing to a new point, dwells on those which precede, i.e., “ I did not say this, without making a formal proposal to that effect, I did not make that proposal without undertaking the embassy, nor undertake the embassy without persuading the Thebans.” (9.3.55-57)
Figures of Omission
  13.    Επεζευγμενον (Ζευγμα): a number of clauses all completed by the same verb. (9.3.62-64)
  14.    συνοικειωσις: connection of two different things: i.e., “The miser lacks that which he has no less than that which he has not.
  15.    Asyndeton: lack of connecting particles, useful when speaking with special vigor. (9.3.50)
Other Figures
  16.    Paronomasia (Adnominatio): resemblance of one word to another which precedes it, as in change of case (c.f. polyptoton), or the redefinition of a term by repetition. (9.3.66-67)
  17.    αντανακλασις: the same word used with two different meanings. (9.3.68-69)
  18.    Traductio: redefining the same word or similar words by repetition, can be seen by using different prepositions attached to a verb, or by using similar words with different meanings. (9.3.70-74)
  19.    Homoeoteleuton: clauses conclude in like syllables (9.3.77)
  20.    Homoeoptoton: clauses ending in like syllables due to the same case endings. (9.3.78-79)
  21.    Isocolon: clauses of the same length (in syllables) (9.3.80)
  22.    Antithesis (Contrapositum/Contentio): single words contrasted with single words, i.e., “Vicit pudorem libido, timorem audacia,” or contrast between pairs of words, “non nostri ingenii, vestri auxilii est.(This is beyond my power; it is your support that is required)” It may also be a contrast of thoughts, known as distinction, “The Roman people hates private luxury, but loves public magnificence” (9.3.81-86)
  23.    Antimetabole: form of antithesis, words repeated in different cases, moods, etc (in reverse order?) e.g., “non ut edam, vivo, sed ut vivam, edo (I do not live to eat, but eat to live).

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