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Rhetoric, Epideictic

Ekaterina Haskins

Subject Linguistics
Communication Studies » Rhetorical Studies

People Aristotle

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


The term “epideictic” derives from the Greek epideixis , translated as “showing forth” or “display.” According to Aristotle's classification of rhetorical genres in The art of rhetoric , epideictic →  Discourse is concerned with topics of praise and blame, deals with the present, and is addressed to an audience of spectators, rather than judges (1358a–b). Epideictic relies on verbal amplification ( auxesis ) to portray desirable qualities of the object of praise and to depict the object of blame as base and dishonorable (1368a). Although The art of rhetoric identifies epideictic as a distinct form or genre of rhetoric, it also notes that epideictic elements can be used in the other two main genres of oratory, when, for example, a deliberative speaker portrays a particular course of action as more attractive than others and a judicial orator's defense employs amplification to depict the accused in a favorable way (→  Rhetoric, Greek ). Aristotle's classification subsumed under the rubric of epideictic several existing genres, including the speech of praise ( enkomion ), the festival speech ( panêgyrikos logos ), and the Athenian funeral oration ( epitaphios logos ). Aristotle also “disciplined” these genres by collapsing their distinct ideological functions into a neutral category of praise and blame and by turning the →  audience into detached observers of the orator's skill ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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