A technique for effectively utilizing speech and persuading in oral and noted form is known as a rhetoric technique. Rhetoric is an art of discourse which convinces influences and pleases the audience by employing various methods. An example of rhetoric is where someone annoys you, and you get angry. You may tell that person, "why can't you just let me be?" That question is not meant to ask for a reason but instead it is posted merely to make that person stop irritating you. Direct language has thus been used in a specific way of successful communication thus making use of rhetoric. A rhetorical situation is where rhetoric has been used in a particular case.
Milton's Paradise Lost is an example of a poem that applies rhetoric (Lewalski, 2014). The poem has characters who reveal themselves through speech. Milton has used rhetoric in passages where God. Satan, Adam and Eve seem to be speaking in their word. The audience gets to understand the characters better and what Milton means of characterization. The narrative strategy of this poem uses direct speech. The poem portrays characters who are speaking throughout the poem. The use of language indirectly presents character traits. Language strengthens the relationship between characterization and rhetoric. Paradise Lost brings its character to life by the author attempting to portray their behavior and language. Rhetoric is primarily about writing that is either spoken or written, and it is used to inform or persuade.
Paradise lost uses direct speech to justify God's humanity. The audience gets to understand how language is used in the poem to bring out different emotions. The character of Satan in paradise lost shows how rhetoric evolves throughout the narrative. According to the narrator of the book, it is Satan who speaks first. The audience is thus immediately introduced to Satan, and the audience forms an impression about Satan. For Satan to move the audience, his style should be ornamental. Satan is presented by the narrator even before he is allowed to speak. The narrator talks of revenge, deceit and the infernal serpent. The audience is asked to be cautious when it comes to Satan.
Satan is described as an image that should not be truthful. The style signifies that it is not based on reason but ornamentation. The use of deceiving shows it is the audience who may be fooled and not the character. The narrator explains what preceded before Satan began his narration. The viewer thus first gets the correct version of Satan before he/she gets fooled by Satan's words. The reader is informed that Satan is expelled from heaven after attempting to match God and also waging war. The reader later gets a fuller picture of what led to the fall of Satan. The narrator tries to establish important information for the leader to decide the version to follow. Satan uses many rhetorical devices to remind Beelzebub of their predicament. Problems shared between Satan and Beelzebub is an essential factor which is stressed by Satan.
The narrator shows Satan's means of persuasion in a speech and a monologue. In book five, Satan seduces Eve in many ways (Shawcross, 1965). Satan persuades Eve to a point she finally appears to surrender. The climax of Satan's grand plan and revenge are represented at the moment where Satan succeeds in convincing Eve to defy the commandments given by God. Satan's language in such a context is supposed to be forceful and expected to be grand. Satan's nature is seen to be manipulative. Satan makes eye contact with Eve and begins his temptations. The shape of Satan appears to be a serpent in this situation. The strategic choice on this part is rhetoric. As in the first book, the narrator warns the audience about the true nature of Satan and his ways of tempting.
Satan initiates a conversion with Eve by approaching Eve as a serpent. Satan uses a device known as ploce. The ploce is a figure of repetition where a word is severally used but with the change of meaning. The word wonder is singly used in this case. The word is first used as a verb where Satan assures Eve that she need not doubt. The word 'Wonder' is then used to a noun to flatter Eve. Satan employs figures of repetition from the first verses of his speech. Satan praises Eve by calling her a queen and a wonder. Satan represents himself to Eve as someone who is eloquent and one who can be relied on. Satan is using ethos to persuade Eve. The serpent shape can speak, and Satan's use of rhetoric echoes his intended message. The message is the there is an excellent power in the fruit from the tree of knowledge.
The way Satan compliments Eve involves flattery. Satan refers to Eve as a sovereign mistress who is an aspect of flattery, but it is also a sign of exaggeration. Neither Eve nor Adam is sovereign. In paradise lost, sovereignty belongs to God. The passage has hyperbole. The figure can be read as a rhetorical fallacy as hyperbole is used for deceiving. Flattery and data of repetition continue to be used by Satan as he approaches Eve. Satan is establishing authority as he appears honest. Satan's strategy can be described regarding freedom of speech. The audience is begged by the figure to speak freely or speak without asking. There is a part where Satan refers to the Garden of Aden as a savage. Both the reader and Eve should be warned on how Satan is disrespectful towards God. Satan laments on how there is injustice towards Eve. Satan asks a rhetorical question known as anthypophora. Satan provides an answer, which is taking the form of yet another issue of the type anthypophora.
In the chapter about Adam and Eve, we see Adam begins his speech with a rhetoric question. Adam asks a rhetoric question which is a strategy used by Satan, but in Adam's case, it shows humility. In the conversation between Adam and Raphael, Adam is trying to establish authority by his character. The pattern of a classical oration begins by persuading through ethos. Adam's rhetorical question can be described as anthypophora. This type of rhetorical question includes a speech whose purpose is too specific as the speaker answers it immediately. Adam reveals his goal by revealing an answer. Adam shows another anthypophora rhetoric question. Adam answers himself using rhetorical question. Adams imitates two people in a conversation where he remembers what God said to Him. The rhetorical device is known as sermocinatio. The narrator shows an instance of figures of repetition where Adam recounts God's word.
Lewalski, B. K. (2014). Paradise lost and the rhetoric of literary forms (Vol. 186). Princeton University Press.
Shawcross, J. T. (1965). The Balanced Structure of" Paradise Lost". Studies in Philology, 62(5), 696-718.
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