Style and Arrangement

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The author of "Rhetorica ad Herennium" and "Aristotle in Rhetoric" share an interest in teaching rhetoric and those aspects of oratory most congruous during the periods in which they wrote. Though they both approach rhetoric with instructional intent, they handle several aspects of rhetoric differently. Aristotle appears less concerned with style or form than with proof, which makes him less authoritative or knowledgeable in the area of style if compared to the author of Rhetorica ad Herennium--who achieves a more systematic approach at defining style. The apparent opposition in the handling of style may come from the natural development of rhetoric based on the knowledge gained during the period that elapsed between the development of the two texts--the latter text gleaning and extrapolating, building on the relevant theories of the former. Additionally, Aristotle and the author of Rhetorica ad Herennium contrast with regard to their ideas on the arrangement of a speech.

Aristotle appears less authoritative or knowledgeable in the area of style, which appears to be the result of his greater concern with proof than style or form if compared to the author of Rhetorica ad Herennium--who achieves a more systematic approach at defining style. Aristotle begins his discussion of style unexpectedly vague: "let the virtue of style be defined as 'to be clear'…and neither flat nor above the dignity of the subject, but appropriate" (On Rhetoric 221). He stresses appropriateness, or clarity, but fails to match the prescriptive tone in Rhetorica ad Herennium, except in Chapter 6. Aristotle's handling of style is divided into roughly two areas: diction and composition. His discussion on diction focuses on word choice, yet he lacks the systematic approach of presenting the material as achieved in Books 1 and 2: "authors should compose without being noticed and should seem to speak not artificially but naturally" (On Rhetoric 222); "There is a fault in the syllables if the indications of sound are unpleasant" (224); "And the source of the metaphor should be something beautiful" (225). These statements lack the detail and exactness we read earlier in Rhetoric; therefore, he loses some credibility on the issue of style when compared to the author of Rhetorica ad Herennium.