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Full text of "Ancient Classic Texts before 400 B.C."

350 BC 

RHETORIC 

by Aristotle 

translated by W. Rhys Roberts 

Book I 

1 

RHETORIC the counterpart of Dialectic. Both alike are concerned with 
such things as come, more or less, within the general ken of all men 
and belong to no definite science. Accordingly all men make use, 
more or less, of both; for to a certain extent all men attempt to 
discuss statements and to maintain them, to defend themselves and to 
attack others. Ordinary people do this either at random or through 
practice and from acquired habit. Both ways being possible, the 
subject can plainly be handled systematically, for it is possible to 
inquire the reason why some speakers succeed through practice and 
others spontaneously; and every one will at once agree that such an 
inquiry is the function of an art. 

Now, the framers of the current treatises on rhetoric have 
constructed but a small portion of that art. The modes of persuasion 
are the only true constituents of the art: everything else is merely 
accessory. These writers, however, say nothing about enthymemes, which 
are the substance of rhetorical persuasion, but deal mainly with 
non-essentials. The arousing of prejudice, pity, anger, and similar 
emotions has nothing to do with the essential facts, but is merely a 
personal appeal to the man who is judging the case. Consequently if 
the rules for trials which are now laid down some states-especially in 
well-governed states-were applied everywhere, such people would have 
nothing to say. All men, no doubt, think that the laws should 
prescribe such rules, but some, as in the court of Areopagus, give 
practical effect to their thoughts and forbid talk about 
non-essentials. This is sound law and custom. It is not right to 
pervert the judge by moving him to anger or envy or pity-one might 
as well warp a carpenter's rule before using it. Again, a litigant has 
clearly nothing to do but to show that the alleged fact is so or is 
not so, that it has or has not happened. As to whether a thing is 
important or unimportant, just or unjust, the judge must surely refuse 
to take his instructions from the litigants: he must decide for 
himself all such points as the law-giver has not already defined for 
him . 

Now, it is of great moment that well-drawn laws should themselves 
define all the points they possibly can and leave as few as may be 
to the decision of the judges; and this for several reasons. First, to 
find one man, or a few men, who are sensible persons and capable of 
legislating and administering justice is easier than to find a large 
number. Next, laws are made after long consideration, whereas 
decisions in the courts are given at short notice, which makes it hard 
for those who try the case to satisfy the claims of justice and 
expediency. The weightiest reason of all is that the decision of the 
lawgiver is not particular but prospective and general, whereas 
members of the assembly and the jury find it their duty to decide on 
definite cases brought before them. They will often have allowed 
themselves to be so much influenced by feelings of friendship or 
hatred or self-interest that they lose any clear vision of the truth 
and have their judgement obscured by considerations of personal 
pleasure or pain. In general, then, the judge should, we say, be 
allowed to decide as few things as possible. But questions as to 
whether something has happened or has not happened, will be or will 
not be, is or is not, must of necessity be left to the judge, since 
the lawgiver cannot foresee them. If this is so, it is evident that 
any one who lays down rules about other matters, such as what must 



be the contents of the 'introduction' or the 'narration' or any of the 
other divisions of a speech, is theorizing about non-essentials as 
if they belonged to the art. The only question with which these 
writers here deal is how to put the judge into a given frame of 
mind. About the orator's proper modes of persuasion they have 
nothing to tell us; nothing, that is, about how to gain skill in 
enthymemes . 

Hence it comes that, although the same systematic principles apply 
to political as to forensic oratory, and although the former is a 
nobler business, and fitter for a citizen, than that which concerns 
the relations of private individuals, these authors say nothing 
about political oratory, but try, one and all, to write treatises on 
the way to plead in court. The reason for this is that in political 
oratory there is less inducement to talk about nonessentials. 
Political oratory is less given to unscrupulous practices than 
forensic, because it treats of wider issues. In a political debate the 
man who is forming a judgement is making a decision about his own 
vital interests. There is no need, therefore, to prove anything except 
that the facts are what the supporter of a measure maintains they are. 
In forensic oratory this is not enough; to conciliate the listener 
is what pays here. It is other people's affairs that are to be 
decided, so that the judges, intent on their own satisfaction and 
listening with partiality, surrender themselves to the disputants 
instead of judging between them. Hence in many places, as we have said 
already, irrelevant speaking is forbidden in the law-courts: in the 
public assembly those who have to form a judgement are themselves well 
able to guard against that. 

It is clear, then, that rhetorical study, in its strict sense, is 
concerned with the modes of persuasion. Persuasion is clearly a sort 
of demonstration, since we are most fully persuaded when we consider a 
thing to have been demonstrated. The orator's demonstration is an 
enthymeme, and this is, in general, the most effective of the modes of 
persuasion. The enthymeme is a sort of syllogism, and the 
consideration of syllogisms of all kinds, without distinction, is 
the business of dialectic, either of dialectic as a whole or of one of 
its branches. It follows plainly, therefore, that he who is best 
able to see how and from what elements a syllogism is produced will 
also be best skilled in the enthymeme, when he has further learnt what 
its subject-matter is and in what respects it differs from the 
syllogism of strict logic. The true and the approximately true are 
apprehended by the same faculty; it may also be noted that men have 
a sufficient natural instinct for what is true, and usually do 
arrive at the truth. Hence the man who makes a good guess at truth 
is likely to make a good guess at probabilities. 

It has now been shown that the ordinary writers on rhetoric treat of 
non-essentials; it has also been shown why they have inclined more 
towards the forensic branch of oratory. 

Rhetoric is useful (1) because things that are true and things 
that are just have a natural tendency to prevail over their opposites, 
so that if the decisions of judges are not what they ought to be, 
the defeat must be due to the speakers themselves, and they must be 
blamed accordingly. Moreover, (2) before some audiences not even the 
possession of the exactest knowledge will make it easy for what we say 
to produce conviction. For argument based on knowledge implies 
instruction, and there are people whom one cannot instruct. Here, 
then, we must use, as our modes of persuasion and argument, notions 
possessed by everybody, as we observed in the Topics when dealing with 
the way to handle a popular audience. Further, (3) we must be able 
to employ persuasion, just as strict reasoning can be employed, on 
opposite sides of a question, not in order that we may in practice 
employ it in both ways (for we must not make people believe what is 
wrong) , but in order that we may see clearly what the facts are, and 
that, if another man argues unfairly, we on our part may be able to 
confute him. No other of the arts draws opposite conclusions: 



dialectic and rhetoric alone do this. Both these arts draw opposite 
conclusions impartially. Nevertheless, the underlying facts do not 
lend themselves equally well to the contrary views. No; things that 
are true and things that are better are, by their nature, 
practically always easier to prove and easier to believe in. Again, 
(4) it is absurd to hold that a man ought to be ashamed of being 
unable to defend himself with his limbs, but not of being unable to 
defend himself with speech and reason, when the use of rational speech 
is more distinctive of a human being than the use of his limbs. And if 
it be objected that one who uses such power of speech unjustly might 
do great harm, that is a charge which may be made in common against 
all good things except virtue, and above all against the things that 
are most useful, as strength, health, wealth, generalship. A man can 
confer the greatest of benefits by a right use of these, and inflict 
the greatest of injuries by using them wrongly. 

It is clear, then, that rhetoric is not bound up with a single 
definite class of subjects, but is as universal as dialectic; it is 
clear, also, that it is useful. It is clear, further, that its 
function is not simply to succeed in persuading, but rather to 
discover the means of coming as near such success as the circumstances 
of each particular case allow. In this it resembles all other arts. 
For example, it is not the function of medicine simply to make a man 
quite healthy, but to put him as far as may be on the road to 
health; it is possible to give excellent treatment even to those who 
can never enjoy sound health. Furthermore, it is plain that it is 
the function of one and the same art to discern the real and the 
apparent means of persuasion, just as it is the function of 
dialectic to discern the real and the apparent syllogism. What makes a 
man a 'sophist' is not his faculty, but his moral purpose. In 
rhetoric, however, the term 'rhetorician' may describe either the 
speaker's knowledge of the art, or his moral purpose. In dialectic 
it is different: a man is a 'sophist' because he has a certain kind of 
moral purpose, a 'dialectician' in respect, not of his moral 
purpose, but of his faculty. 

Let us now try to give some account of the systematic principles 
of Rhetoric itself-of the right method and means of succeeding in 
the object we set before us. We must make as it were a fresh start, 
and before going further define what rhetoric is. 



Rhetoric may be defined as the faculty of observing in any given 
case the available means of persuasion. This is not a function of 
any other art. Every other art can instruct or persuade about its 
own particular subject-matter; for instance, medicine about what is 
healthy and unhealthy, geometry about the properties of magnitudes, 
arithmetic about numbers, and the same is true of the other arts and 
sciences. But rhetoric we look upon as the power of observing the 
means of persuasion on almost any subject presented to us; and that is 
why we say that, in its technical character, it is not concerned 
with any special or definite class of subjects. 

Of the modes of persuasion some belong strictly to the art of 
rhetoric and some do not. By the latter I mean such things as are 
not supplied by the speaker but are there at the outset-witnesses, 
evidence given under torture, written contracts, and so on. By the 
former I mean such as we can ourselves construct by means of the 
principles of rhetoric. The one kind has merely to be used, the 
other has to be invented. 

Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word there are 
three kinds. The first kind depends on the personal character of the 
speaker; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of 
mind; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words 
of the speech itself. Persuasion is achieved by the speaker's personal 
character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think him 



credible. We believe good men more fully and more readily than others: 
this is true generally whatever the question is, and absolutely true 
where exact certainty is impossible and opinions are divided. This 
kind of persuasion, like the others, should be achieved by what the 
speaker says, not by what people think of his character before he 
begins to speak. It is not true, as some writers assume in their 
treatises on rhetoric, that the personal goodness revealed by the 
speaker contributes nothing to his power of persuasion; on the 
contrary, his character may almost be called the most effective 
means of persuasion he possesses. Secondly, persuasion may come 
through the hearers, when the speech stirs their emotions. Our 
judgements when we are pleased and friendly are not the same as when 
we are pained and hostile. It is towards producing these effects, as 
we maintain, that present-day writers on rhetoric direct the whole 
of their efforts. This subject shall be treated in detail when we come 
to speak of the emotions. Thirdly, persuasion is effected through 
the speech itself when we have proved a truth or an apparent truth 
by means of the persuasive arguments suitable to the case in question. 

There are, then, these three means of effecting persuasion. The 
man who is to be in command of them must, it is clear, be able (1) 
to reason logically, (2) to understand human character and goodness in 
their various forms, and (3) to understand the emotions-that is, to 
name them and describe them, to know their causes and the way in which 
they are excited. It thus appears that rhetoric is an offshoot of 
dialectic and also of ethical studies. Ethical studies may fairly be 
called political; and for this reason rhetoric masquerades as 
political science, and the professors of it as political 
experts-sometimes from want of education, sometimes from 
ostentation, sometimes owing to other human failings. As a matter of 
fact, it is a branch of dialectic and similar to it, as we said at the 
outset. Neither rhetoric nor dialectic is the scientific study of 
any one separate subject: both are faculties for providing 
arguments. This is perhaps a sufficient account of their scope and 
of how they are related to each other. 

With regard to the persuasion achieved by proof or apparent proof: 
just as in dialectic there is induction on the one hand and 
syllogism or apparent syllogism on the other, so it is in rhetoric. 
The example is an induction, the enthymeme is a syllogism, and the 
apparent enthymeme is an apparent syllogism. I call the enthymeme a 
rhetorical syllogism, and the example a rhetorical induction. Every 
one who effects persuasion through proof does in fact use either 
enthymemes or examples: there is no other way. And since every one who 
proves anything at all is bound to use either syllogisms or inductions 
(and this is clear to us from the Analytics), it must follow that 
enthymemes are syllogisms and examples are inductions. The 
difference between example and enthymeme is made plain by the passages 
in the Topics where induction and syllogism have already been 
discussed. When we base the proof of a proposition on a number of 
similar cases, this is induction in dialectic, example in rhetoric; 
when it is shown that, certain propositions being true, a further 
and quite distinct proposition must also be true in consequence, 
whether invariably or usually, this is called syllogism in 
dialectic, enthymeme in rhetoric. It is plain also that each of 
these types of oratory has its advantages. Types of oratory, I say: 
for what has been said in the Methodics applies equally well here; 
in some oratorical styles examples prevail, in others enthymemes; 
and in like manner, some orators are better at the former and some 
at the latter. Speeches that rely on examples are as persuasive as the 
other kind, but those which rely on enthymemes excite the louder 
applause. The sources of examples and enthymemes, and their proper 
uses, we will discuss later. Our next step is to define the 
processes themselves more clearly. 

A statement is persuasive and credible either because it is directly 
self-evident or because it appears to be proved from other 



statements that are so. In either case it is persuasive because 
there is somebody whom it persuades. But none of the arts theorize 
about individual cases. Medicine, for instance, does not theorize 
about what will help to cure Socrates or Callias, but only about 
what will help to cure any or all of a given class of patients: this 
alone is business: individual cases are so infinitely various that 
no systematic knowledge of them is possible. In the same way the 
theory of rhetoric is concerned not with what seems probable to a 
given individual like Socrates or Hippias, but with what seems 
probable to men of a given type; and this is true of dialectic also. 
Dialectic does not construct its syllogisms out of any haphazard 
materials, such as the fancies of crazy people, but out of materials 
that call for discussion; and rhetoric, too, draws upon the regular 
subjects of debate. The duty of rhetoric is to deal with such 
matters as we deliberate upon without arts or systems to guide us, 
in the hearing of persons who cannot take in at a glance a complicated 
argument, or follow a long chain of reasoning. The subjects of our 
deliberation are such as seem to present us with alternative 
possibilities: about things that could not have been, and cannot now 
or in the future be, other than they are, nobody who takes them to 
be of this nature wastes his time in deliberation. 

It is possible to form syllogisms and draw conclusions from the 
results of previous syllogisms; or, on the other hand, from 
premisses which have not been thus proved, and at the same time are so 
little accepted that they call for proof. Reasonings of the former 
kind will necessarily be hard to follow owing to their length, for 
we assume an audience of untrained thinkers; those of the latter 
kind will fail to win assent, because they are based on premisses that 
are not generally admitted or believed. 

The enthymeme and the example must, then, deal with what is in the 
main contingent, the example being an induction, and the enthymeme a 
syllogism, about such matters. The enthymeme must consist of few 
propositions, fewer often than those which make up the normal 
syllogism. For if any of these propositions is a familiar fact, 
there is no need even to mention it; the hearer adds it himself. Thus, 
to show that Dorieus has been victor in a contest for which the 
prize is a crown, it is enough to say 'For he has been victor in the 
Olympic games', without adding 'And in the Olympic games the prize 
is a crown', a fact which everybody knows. 

There are few facts of the 'necessary' type that can form the 
basis of rhetorical syllogisms. Most of the things about which we make 
decisions, and into which therefore we inquire, present us with 
alternative possibilities. For it is about our actions that we 
deliberate and inquire, and all our actions have a contingent 
character; hardly any of them are determined by necessity. Again, 
conclusions that state what is merely usual or possible must be 
drawn from premisses that do the same, just as 'necessary' conclusions 
must be drawn from 'necessary' premisses; this too is clear to us from 
the Analytics. It is evident, therefore, that the propositions forming 
the basis of enthymemes, though some of them may be 'necessary', 
will most of them be only usually true. Now the materials of 
enthymemes are Probabilities and Signs, which we can see must 
correspond respectively with the propositions that are generally and 
those that are necessarily true. A Probability is a thing that usually 
happens; not, however, as some definitions would suggest, anything 
whatever that usually happens, but only if it belongs to the class 
of the 'contingent' or 'variable' . It bears the same relation to 
that in respect of which it is probable as the universal bears to 
the particular. Of Signs, one kind bears the same relation to the 
statement it supports as the particular bears to the universal, the 
other the same as the universal bears to the particular. The 
infallible kind is a 'complete proof' (tekmerhiou) ; the fallible 
kind has no specific name. By infallible signs I mean those on which 
syllogisms proper may be based: and this shows us why this kind of 



Sign is called 'complete proof' : when people think that what they have 
said cannot be refuted, they then think that they are bringing forward 
a 'complete proof', meaning that the matter has now been 
demonstrated and completed (peperhasmeuou) ; for the word 'perhas' 
has the same meaning (of 'end' or 'boundary') as the word 'tekmarh' in 
the ancient tongue. Now the one kind of Sign (that which bears to 
the proposition it supports the relation of particular to universal) 
may be illustrated thus. Suppose it were said, 'The fact that Socrates 
was wise and just is a sign that the wise are just' . Here we certainly 
have a Sign; but even though the proposition be true, the argument 
is refutable, since it does not form a syllogism. Suppose, on the 
other hand, it were said, 'The fact that he has a fever is a sign that 
he is ill', or, 'The fact that she is giving milk is a sign that she 
has lately borne a child' . Here we have the infallible kind of Sign, 
the only kind that constitutes a complete proof, since it is the 
only kind that, if the particular statement is true, is irrefutable. 
The other kind of Sign, that which bears to the proposition it 
supports the relation of universal to particular, might be illustrated 
by saying, 'The fact that he breathes fast is a sign that he has a 
fever' . This argument also is refutable, even if the statement about 
the fast breathing be true, since a man may breathe hard without 
having a fever. 

It has, then, been stated above what is the nature of a Probability, 
of a Sign, and of a complete proof, and what are the differences 
between them. In the Analytics a more explicit description has been 
given of these points; it is there shown why some of these 
reasonings can be put into syllogisms and some cannot. 

The 'example' has already been described as one kind of induction; 
and the special nature of the subject-matter that distinguishes it 
from the other kinds has also been stated above. Its relation to the 
proposition it supports is not that of part to whole, nor whole to 
part, nor whole to whole, but of part to part, or like to like. When 
two statements are of the same order, but one is more familiar than 
the other, the former is an 'example' . The argument may, for instance, 
be that Dionysius, in asking as he does for a bodyguard, is scheming 
to make himself a despot. For in the past Peisistratus kept asking for 
a bodyguard in order to carry out such a scheme, and did make 
himself a despot as soon as he got it; and so did Theagenes at Megara; 
and in the same way all other instances known to the speaker are 
made into examples, in order to show what is not yet known, that 
Dionysius has the same purpose in making the same request: all these 
being instances of the one general principle, that a man who asks 
for a bodyguard is scheming to make himself a despot. We have now 
described the sources of those means of persuasion which are popularly 
supposed to be demonstrative. 

There is an important distinction between two sorts of enthymemes 
that has been wholly overlooked by almost everybody-one that also 
subsists between the syllogisms treated of in dialectic. One sort of 
enthymeme really belongs to rhetoric, as one sort of syllogism 
really belongs to dialectic; but the other sort really belongs to 
other arts and faculties, whether to those we already exercise or to 
those we have not yet acquired. Missing this distinction, people 
fail to notice that the more correctly they handle their particular 
subject the further they are getting away from pure rhetoric or 
dialectic. This statement will be clearer if expressed more fully. I 
mean that the proper subjects of dialectical and rhetorical syllogisms 
are the things with which we say the regular or universal Lines of 
Argument are concerned, that is to say those lines of argument that 
apply equally to questions of right conduct, natural science, 
politics, and many other things that have nothing to do with one 
another. Take, for instance, the line of argument concerned with 
'the more or less' . On this line of argument it is equally easy to 
base a syllogism or enthymeme about any of what nevertheless are 
essentially disconnected subjects-right conduct, natural science, or 



anything else whatever. But there are also those special Lines of 
Argument which are based on such propositions as apply only to 
particular groups or classes of things. Thus there are propositions 
about natural science on which it is impossible to base any 
enthymeme or syllogism about ethics, and other propositions about 
ethics on which nothing can be based about natural science. The same 
principle applies throughout. The general Lines of Argument have no 
special subject-matter, and therefore will not increase our 
understanding of any particular class of things. On the other hand, 
the better the selection one makes of propositions suitable for 
special Lines of Argument, the nearer one comes, unconsciously, to 
setting up a science that is distinct from dialectic and rhetoric. One 
may succeed in stating the required principles, but one's science will 
be no longer dialectic or rhetoric, but the science to which the 
principles thus discovered belong. Most enthymemes are in fact based 
upon these particular or special Lines of Argument; comparatively 
few on the common or general kind. As in the therefore, so in this 
work, we must distinguish, in dealing with enthymemes, the special and 
the general Lines of Argument on which they are to be founded. By 
special Lines of Argument I mean the propositions peculiar to each 
several class of things, by general those common to all classes alike. 
We may begin with the special Lines of Argument. But, first of all, 
let us classify rhetoric into its varieties. Having distinguished 
these we may deal with them one by one, and try to discover the 
elements of which each is composed, and the propositions each must 
employ. 



Rhetoric falls into three divisions, determined by the three classes 
of listeners to speeches. For of the three elements in 
speech-making--speaker , subject, and person addressed--it is the 
last one, the hearer, that determines the speech's end and object. The 
hearer must be either a judge, with a decision to make about things 
past or future, or an observer. A member of the assembly decides about 
future events, a juryman about past events: while those who merely 
decide on the orator's skill are observers. From this it follows 
that there are three divisions of oratory- (1) political, (2) forensic, 
and (3) the ceremonial oratory of display. 

Political speaking urges us either to do or not to do something: one 
of these two courses is always taken by private counsellors, as well 
as by men who address public assemblies. Forensic speaking either 
attacks or defends somebody: one or other of these two things must 
always be done by the parties in a case. The ceremonial oratory of 
display either praises or censures somebody. These three kinds of 
rhetoric refer to three different kinds of time. The political 
orator is concerned with the future: it is about things to be done 
hereafter that he advises, for or against. The party in a case at 
law is concerned with the past; one man accuses the other, and the 
other defends himself, with reference to things already done. The 
ceremonial orator is, properly speaking, concerned with the present, 
since all men praise or blame in view of the state of things 
existing at the time, though they often find it useful also to 
recall the past and to make guesses at the future. 

Rhetoric has three distinct ends in view, one for each of its 
three kinds. The political orator aims at establishing the 
expediency or the harmfulness of a proposed course of action; if he 
urges its acceptance, he does so on the ground that it will do good; 
if he urges its rejection, he does so on the ground that it will do 
harm; and all other points, such as whether the proposal is just or 
unjust, honourable or dishonourable, he brings in as subsidiary and 
relative to this main consideration. Parties in a law-case aim at 
establishing the justice or injustice of some action, and they too 
bring in all other points as subsidiary and relative to this one. 



Those who praise or attack a man aim at proving him worthy of honour 
or the reverse, and they too treat all other considerations with 
reference to this one. 

That the three kinds of rhetoric do aim respectively at the three 
ends we have mentioned is shown by the fact that speakers will 
sometimes not try to establish anything else. Thus, the litigant 
will sometimes not deny that a thing has happened or that he has 
done harm. But that he is guilty of injustice he will never admit; 
otherwise there would be no need of a trial. So too, political orators 
often make any concession short of admitting that they are 
recommending their hearers to take an inexpedient course or not to 
take an expedient one. The question whether it is not unjust for a 
city to enslave its innocent neighbours often does not trouble them at 
all. In like manner those who praise or censure a man do not 
consider whether his acts have been expedient or not, but often make 
it a ground of actual praise that he has neglected his own interest to 
do what was honourable. Thus, they praise Achilles because he 
championed his fallen friend Patroclus, though he knew that this meant 
death, and that otherwise he need not die: yet while to die thus was 
the nobler thing for him to do, the expedient thing was to live on. 

It is evident from what has been said that it is these three 
subjects, more than any others, about which the orator must be able to 
have propositions at his command. Now the propositions of Rhetoric are 
Complete Proofs, Probabilities, and Signs. Every kind of syllogism 
is composed of propositions, and the enthymeme is a particular kind of 
syllogism composed of the aforesaid propositions. 

Since only possible actions, and not impossible ones, can ever 
have been done in the past or the present, and since things which have 
not occurred, or will not occur, also cannot have been done or be 
going to be done, it is necessary for the political, the forensic, and 
the ceremonial speaker alike to be able to have at their command 
propositions about the possible and the impossible, and about 
whether a thing has or has not occurred, will or will not occur. 
Further, all men, in giving praise or blame, in urging us to accept or 
reject proposals for action, in accusing others or defending 
themselves, attempt not only to prove the points mentioned but also to 
show that the good or the harm, the honour or disgrace, the justice or 
injustice, is great or small, either absolutely or relatively; and 
therefore it is plain that we must also have at our command 
propositions about greatness or smallness and the greater or the 
lesser-propositions both universal and particular. Thus, we must be 
able to say which is the greater or lesser good, the greater or lesser 
act of justice or injustice; and so on. 

Such, then, are the subjects regarding which we are inevitably bound 
to master the propositions relevant to them. We must now discuss 
each particular class of these subjects in turn, namely those dealt 
with in political, in ceremonial, and lastly in legal, oratory. 



First, then, we must ascertain what are the kinds of things, good or 
bad, about which the political orator offers counsel. For he does 
not deal with all things, but only with such as may or may not take 
place. Concerning things which exist or will exist inevitably, or 
which cannot possibly exist or take place, no counsel can be given. 
Nor, again, can counsel be given about the whole class of things which 
may or may not take place; for this class includes some good things 
that occur naturally, and some that occur by accident; and about these 
it is useless to offer counsel. Clearly counsel can only be given on 
matters about which people deliberate; matters, namely, that 
ultimately depend on ourselves, and which we have it in our power to 
set going. For we turn a thing over in our mind until we have 
reached the point of seeing whether we can do it or not. 

Now to enumerate and classify accurately the usual subjects of 



public business, and further to frame, as far as possible, true 
definitions of them is a task which we must not attempt on the present 
occasion. For it does not belong to the art of rhetoric, but to a more 
instructive art and a more real branch of knowledge; and as it is, 
rhetoric has been given a far wider subject-matter than strictly 
belongs to it. The truth is, as indeed we have said already, that 
rhetoric is a combination of the science of logic and of the ethical 
branch of politics; and it is partly like dialectic, partly like 
sophistical reasoning. But the more we try to make either dialectic 
rhetoric not, what they really are, practical faculties, but sciences, 
the more we shall inadvertently be destroying their true nature; for 
we shall be re-fashioning them and shall be passing into the region of 
sciences dealing with definite subjects rather than simply with 
words and forms of reasoning. Even here, however, we will mention 
those points which it is of practical importance to distinguish, their 
fuller treatment falling naturally to political science. 

The main matters on which all men deliberate and on which 
political speakers make speeches are some five in number: ways and 
means, war and peace, national defence, imports and exports, and 
legislation . 

As to Ways and Means, then, the intending speaker will need to 
know the number and extent of the country's sources of revenue, so 
that, if any is being overlooked, it may be added, and, if any is 
defective, it may be increased. Further, he should know all the 
expenditure of the country, in order that, if any part of it is 
superfluous, it may be abolished, or, if any is too large, it may be 
reduced. For men become richer not only by increasing their existing 
wealth but also by reducing their expenditure. A comprehensive view of 
these questions cannot be gained solely from experience in home 
affairs; in order to advise on such matters a man must be keenly 
interested in the methods worked out in other lands . 

As to Peace and War, he must know the extent of the military 
strength of his country, both actual and potential, and also the 
mature of that actual and potential strength; and further, what wars 
his country has waged, and how it has waged them. He must know these 
facts not only about his own country, but also about neighbouring 
countries; and also about countries with which war is likely, in order 
that peace may be maintained with those stronger than his own, and 
that his own may have power to make war or not against those that 
are weaker. He should know, too, whether the military power of another 
country is like or unlike that of his own; for this is a matter that 
may affect their relative strength. With the same end in view he must, 
besides, have studied the wars of other countries as well as those 
of his own, and the way they ended; similar causes are likely to 
have similar results. 

With regard to National Defence: he ought to know all about the 
methods of defence in actual use, such as the strength and character 
of the defensive force and the positions of the forts-this last 
means that he must be well acquainted with the lie of the country-in 
order that a garrison may be increased if it is too small or removed 
if it is not wanted, and that the strategic points may be guarded with 
special care. 

With regard to the Food Supply: he must know what outlay will meet 
the needs of his country; what kinds of food are produced at home 
and what imported; and what articles must be exported or imported. 
This last he must know in order that agreements and commercial 
treaties may be made with the countries concerned. There are, 
indeed, two sorts of state to which he must see that his countrymen 
give no cause for offence, states stronger than his own, and states 
with which it is advantageous to trade. 

But while he must, for security's sake, be able to take all this 
into account, he must before all things understand the subject of 
legislation; for it is on a country's laws that its whole welfare 
depends. He must, therefore, know how many different forms of 



constitution there are; under what conditions each of these will 
prosper and by what internal developments or external attacks each 
of them tends to be destroyed. When I speak of destruction through 
internal developments I refer to the fact that all constitutions, 
except the best one of all, are destroyed both by not being pushed far 
enough and by being pushed too far. Thus, democracy loses its 
vigour, and finally passes into oligarchy, not only when it is not 
pushed far enough, but also when it is pushed a great deal too far; 
just as the aquiline and the snub nose not only turn into normal noses 
by not being aquiline or snub enough, but also by being too 
violently aquiline or snub arrive at a condition in which they no 
longer look like noses at all. It is useful, in framing laws, not only 
to study the past history of one's own country, in order to understand 
which constitution is desirable for it now, but also to have a 
knowledge of the constitutions of other nations, and so to learn for 
what kinds of nation the various kinds of constitution are suited. 
From this we can see that books of travel are useful aids to 
legislation, since from these we may learn the laws and customs of 
different races. The political speaker will also find the researches 
of historians useful. But all this is the business of political 
science and not of rhetoric. 

These, then, are the most important kinds of information which the 
political speaker must possess. Let us now go back and state the 
premisses from which he will have to argue in favour of adopting or 
rejecting measures regarding these and other matters. 



It may be said that every individual man and all men in common aim 
at a certain end which determines what they choose and what they 
avoid. This end, to sum it up briefly, is happiness and its 
constituents. Let us, then, by way of illustration only, ascertain 
what is in general the nature of happiness, and what are the 
elements of its constituent parts. For all advice to do things or 
not to do them is concerned with happiness and with the things that 
make for or against it; whatever creates or increases happiness or 
some part of happiness, we ought to do; whatever destroys or hampers 
happiness, or gives rise to its opposite, we ought not to do. 

We may define happiness as prosperity combined with virtue; or as 
independence of life; or as the secure enjoyment of the maximum of 
pleasure; or as a good condition of property and body, together with 
the power of guarding one's property and body and making use of 
them. That happiness is one or more of these things, pretty well 
everybody agrees . 

From this definition of happiness it follows that its constituent 
parts are: -good birth, plenty of friends, good friends, wealth, good 
children, plenty of children, a happy old age, also such bodily 
excellences as health, beauty, strength, large stature, athletic 
powers, together with fame, honour, good luck, and virtue. A man 
cannot fail to be completely independent if he possesses these 
internal and these external goods; for besides these there are no 
others to have. (Goods of the soul and of the body are internal. 
Good birth, friends, money, and honour are external.) Further, we 
think that he should possess resources and luck, in order to make 
his life really secure. As we have already ascertained what 
happiness in general is, so now let us try to ascertain what of 
these parts of it is. 

Now good birth in a race or a state means that its members are 
indigenous or ancient: that its earliest leaders were distinguished 
men, and that from them have sprung many who were distinguished for 
qualities that we admire. 

The good birth of an individual, which may come either from the male 
or the female side, implies that both parents are free citizens, and 
that, as in the case of the state, the founders of the line have 



been notable for virtue or wealth or something else which is highly 
prized, and that many distinguished persons belong to the family, 
men and women, young and old. 

The phrases 'possession of good children' and 'of many children' 
bear a quite clear meaning. Applied to a community, they mean that its 
young men are numerous and of good a quality: good in regard to bodily 
excellences, such as stature, beauty, strength, athletic powers; and 
also in regard to the excellences of the soul, which in a young man 
are temperance and courage. Applied to an individual, they mean that 
his own children are numerous and have the good qualities we have 
described. Both male and female are here included; the excellences 
of the latter are, in body, beauty and stature; in soul, 
self-command and an industry that is not sordid. Communities as well 
as individuals should lack none of these perfections, in their women 
as well as in their men. Where, as among the Lacedaemonians, the state 
of women is bad, almost half of human life is spoilt. 

The constituents of wealth are: plenty of coined money and 
territory; the ownership of numerous, large, and beautiful estates; 
also the ownership of numerous and beautiful implements, live stock, 
and slaves. All these kinds of property are our own, are secure, 
gentlemanly, and useful. The useful kinds are those that are 
productive, the gentlemanly kinds are those that provide enjoyment. By 
'productive' I mean those from which we get our income; by 
'enjoyable', those from which we get nothing worth mentioning except 
the use of them. The criterion of 'security' is the ownership of 
property in such places and under such Conditions that the use of it 
is in our power; and it is 'our own' if it is in our own power to 
dispose of it or keep it. By 'disposing of it' I mean giving it away 
or selling it. Wealth as a whole consists in using things rather 
than in owning them; it is really the activity-that is, the use-of 
property that constitutes wealth. 

Fame means being respected by everybody, or having some quality that 
is desired by all men, or by most, or by the good, or by the wise. 

Honour is the token of a man's being famous for doing good, it is 
chiefly and most properly paid to those who have already done good; 
but also to the man who can do good in future. Doing good refers 
either to the preservation of life and the means of life, or to 
wealth, or to some other of the good things which it is hard to get 
either always or at that particular place or time-for many gain honour 
for things which seem small, but the place and the occasion account 
for it. The constituents of honour are: sacrifices; commemoration, 
in verse or prose; privileges; grants of land; front seats at civic 
celebrations; state burial; statues; public maintenance; among 
foreigners, obeisances and giving place; and such presents as are 
among various bodies of men regarded as marks of honour. For a present 
is not only the bestowal of a piece of property, but also a token of 
honour; which explains why honour-loving as well as money-loving 
persons desire it. The present brings to both what they want; it is 
a piece of property, which is what the lovers of money desire; and 
it brings honour, which is what the lovers of honour desire. 

The excellence of the body is health; that is, a condition which 
allows us, while keeping free from disease, to have the use of our 
bodies; for many people are 'healthy' as we are told Herodicus was; 
and these no one can congratulate on their 'health', for they have 
to abstain from everything or nearly everything that men do . -Beauty 
varies with the time of life. In a young man beauty is the 
possession of a body fit to endure the exertion of running and of 
contests of strength; which means that he is pleasant to look at; 
and therefore all-round athletes are the most beautiful, being 
naturally adapted both for contests of strength and for speed also. 
For a man in his prime, beauty is fitness for the exertion of warfare, 
together with a pleasant but at the same time formidable appearance. 
For an old man, it is to be strong enough for such exertion as is 
necessary, and to be free from all those deformities of old age 



which cause pain to others. Strength is the power of moving some one 
else at will; to do this, you must either pull, push, lift, pin, or 
grip him; thus you must be strong in all of those ways or at least 
in some. Excellence in size is to surpass ordinary people in height, 
thickness, and breadth by just as much as will not make one's 
movements slower in consequence. Athletic excellence of the body 
consists in size, strength, and swiftness; swiftness implying 
strength. He who can fling forward his legs in a certain way, and move 
them fast and far, is good at running; he who can grip and hold down 
is good at wrestling; he who can drive an adversary from his ground 
with the right blow is a good boxer: he who can do both the last is 
a good pancratiast, while he who can do all is an 'all-round' athlete. 

Happiness in old age is the coming of old age slowly and painlessly; 
for a man has not this happiness if he grows old either quickly, or 
tardily but painfully. It arises both from the excellences of the body 
and from good luck. If a man is not free from disease, or if he is 
strong, he will not be free from suffering; nor can he continue to 
live a long and painless life unless he has good luck. There is, 
indeed, a capacity for long life that is quite independent of health 
or strength; for many people live long who lack the excellences of the 
body; but for our present purpose there is no use in going into the 
details of this. 

The terms 'possession of many friends' and 'possession of good 
friends' need no explanation; for we define a 'friend' as one who will 
always try, for your sake, to do what he takes to be good for you. The 
man towards whom many feel thus has many friends; if these are 
worthy men, he has good friends. 

'Good luck' means the acquisition or possession of all or most, or 
the most important, of those good things which are due to luck. Some 
of the things that are due to luck may also be due to artificial 
contrivance; but many are independent of art, as for example those 
which are due to nature-though, to be sure, things due to luck may 
actually be contrary to nature. Thus health may be due to artificial 
contrivance, but beauty and stature are due to nature. All such good 
things as excite envy are, as a class, the outcome of good luck. 
Luck is also the cause of good things that happen contrary to 
reasonable expectation: as when, for instance, all your brothers are 
ugly, but you are handsome yourself; or when you find a treasure 
that everybody else has overlooked; or when a missile hits the next 
man and misses you; or when you are the only man not to go to a 
place you have gone to regularly, while the others go there for the 
first time and are killed. All such things are reckoned pieces of good 
luck . 

As to virtue, it is most closely connected with the subject of 
Eulogy, and therefore we will wait to define it until we come to 
discuss that subject. 



It is now plain what our aims, future or actual, should be in 
urging, and what in depreciating, a proposal; the latter being the 
opposite of the former. Now the political or deliberative orator's aim 
is utility: deliberation seeks to determine not ends but the means 
to ends, i.e. what it is most useful to do. Further, utility is a good 
thing. We ought therefore to assure ourselves of the main facts 
about Goodness and Utility in general. 

We may define a good thing as that which ought to be chosen for 
its own sake; or as that for the sake of which we choose something 
else; or as that which is sought after by all things, or by all things 
that have sensation or reason, or which will be sought after by any 
things that acquire reason; or as that which must be prescribed for 
a given individual by reason generally, or is prescribed for him by 
his individual reason, this being his individual good; or as that 
whose presence brings anything into a satisfactory and 



self-sufficing condition; or as self-sufficiency; or as what produces, 
maintains, or entails characteristics of this kind, while preventing 
and destroying their opposites. One thing may entail another in either 
of two ways-(l) simultaneously, (2) subsequently. Thus learning 
entails knowledge subsequently, health entails life simultaneously. 
Things are productive of other things in three senses: first as 
being healthy produces health; secondly, as food produces health; 
and thirdly, as exercise does-i.e. it does so usually. All this 
being settled, we now see that both the acquisition of good things and 
the removal of bad things must be good; the latter entails freedom 
from the evil things simultaneously, while the former entails 
possession of the good things subsequently. The acquisition of a 
greater in place of a lesser good, or of a lesser in place of a 
greater evil, is also good, for in proportion as the greater exceeds 
the lesser there is acquisition of good or removal of evil. The 
virtues, too, must be something good; for it is by possessing these 
that we are in a good condition, and they tend to produce good works 
and good actions. They must be severally named and described 
elsewhere. Pleasure, again, must be a good thing, since it is the 
nature of all animals to aim at it. Consequently both pleasant and 
beautiful things must be good things, since the former are 
productive of pleasure, while of the beautiful things some are 
pleasant and some desirable in and for themselves. 

The following is a more detailed list of things that must be good. 
Happiness, as being desirable in itself and sufficient by itself, 
and as being that for whose sake we choose many other things. Also 
justice, courage, temperance, magnanimity, magnificence, and all 
such qualities, as being excellences of the soul. Further, health, 
beauty, and the like, as being bodily excellences and productive of 
many other good things: for instance, health is productive both of 
pleasure and of life, and therefore is thought the greatest of 
goods, since these two things which it causes, pleasure and life, 
are two of the things most highly prized by ordinary people. Wealth, 
again: for it is the excellence of possession, and also productive 
of many other good things. Friends and friendship: for a friend is 
desirable in himself and also productive of many other good things. 
So, too, honour and reputation, as being pleasant, and productive of 
many other good things, and usually accompanied by the presence of the 
good things that cause them to be bestowed. The faculty of speech 
and action; since all such qualities are productive of what is good. 
Further-good parts, strong memory, receptiveness, quickness of 
intuition, and the like, for all such faculties are productive of what 
is good. Similarly, all the sciences and arts. And life: since, even 
if no other good were the result of life, it is desirable in itself. 
And justice, as the cause of good to the community. 

The above are pretty well all the things admittedly good. In dealing 
with things whose goodness is disputed, we may argue in the 
following ways: -That is good of which the contrary is bad. That is 
good the contrary of which is to the advantage of our enemies; for 
example, if it is to the particular advantage of our enemies that we 
should be cowards, clearly courage is of particular value to our 
countrymen. And generally, the contrary of that which our enemies 
desire, or of that at which they rejoice, is evidently valuable. Hence 
the passage beginning: 

Surely would Priam exult. 

This principle usually holds good, but not always, since it may well 
be that our interest is sometimes the same as that of our enemies. 
Hence it is said that 'evils draw men together'; that is, when the 
same thing is hurtful to them both. 

Further: that which is not in excess is good, and that which is 
greater than it should be is bad. That also is good on which much 
labour or money has been spent; the mere fact of this makes it seem 



good, and such a good is assumed to be an end-an end reached through a 
long chain of means; and any end is a good. Hence the lines beginning: 

And for Priam (and Troy-town's folk) should 
they leave behind them a boast; 

and 

Oh, it were shame 

To have tarried so long and return empty-handed 
as erst we came; 

and there is also the proverb about 'breaking the pitcher at the 
door ' . 

That which most people seek after, and which is obviously an 
object of contention, is also a good; for, as has been shown, that 
is good which is sought after by everybody, and 'most people' is taken 
to be equivalent to 'everybody'. That which is praised is good, 
since no one praises what is not good. So, again, that which is 
praised by our enemies [or by the worthless] for when even those who 
have a grievance think a thing good, it is at once felt that every one 
must agree with them; our enemies can admit the fact only because it 
is evident, just as those must be worthless whom their friends censure 
and their enemies do not. (For this reason the Corinthians conceived 
themselves to be insulted by Simonides when he wrote: 

Against the Corinthians hath Ilium no complaint.) 

Again, that is good which has been distinguished by the favour of 
a discerning or virtuous man or woman, as Odysseus was distinguished 
by Athena, Helen by Theseus, Paris by the goddesses, and Achilles by 
Homer. And, generally speaking, all things are good which men 
deliberately choose to do; this will include the things already 
mentioned, and also whatever may be bad for their enemies or good 
for their friends, and at the same time practicable. Things are 
'practicable' in two senses: (1) it is possible to do them, (2) it 
is easy to do them. Things are done 'easily' when they are done either 
without pain or quickly: the 'difficulty' of an act lies either in its 
painfulness or in the long time it takes. Again, a thing is good if it 
is as men wish; and they wish to have either no evil at an or at least 
a balance of good over evil. This last will happen where the penalty 
is either imperceptible or slight. Good, too, are things that are a 
man's very own, possessed by no one else, exceptional; for this 
increases the credit of having them. So are things which befit the 
possessors, such as whatever is appropriate to their birth or 
capacity, and whatever they feel they ought to have but lack-such 
things may indeed be trifling, but none the less men deliberately make 
them the goal of their action. And things easily effected; for these 
are practicable (in the sense of being easy); such things are those in 
which every one, or most people, or one's equals, or one's inferiors 
have succeeded. Good also are the things by which we shall gratify our 
friends or annoy our enemies; and the things chosen by those whom we 
admire: and the things for which we are fitted by nature or 
experience, since we think we shall succeed more easily in these: 
and those in which no worthless man can succeed, for such things bring 
greater praise: and those which we do in fact desire, for what we 
desire is taken to be not only pleasant but also better. Further, a 
man of a given disposition makes chiefly for the corresponding things: 
lovers of victory make for victory, lovers of honour for honour, 
money-loving men for money, and so with the rest. These, then, are the 
sources from which we must derive our means of persuasion about Good 
and Utility. 



Since, however, it often happens that people agree that two things 
are both useful but do not agree about which is the more so, the 
next step will be to treat of relative goodness and relative utility. 

A thing which surpasses another may be regarded as being that 
other thing plus something more, and that other thing which is 
surpassed as being what is contained in the first thing. Now to call a 
thing 'greater' or 'more' always implies a comparison of it with one 
that is 'smaller' or 'less', while 'great' and 'small', 'much' and 
'little', are terms used in comparison with normal magnitude. The 
'great' is that which surpasses the normal, the 'small' is that 
which is surpassed by the normal; and so with 'many' and 'few' . 

Now we are applying the term 'good' to what is desirable for its own 
sake and not for the sake of something else; to that at which all 
things aim; to what they would choose if they could acquire 
understanding and practical wisdom; and to that which tends to produce 
or preserve such goods, or is always accompanied by them. Moreover, 
that for the sake of which things are done is the end (an end being 
that for the sake of which all else is done) , and for each 
individual that thing is a good which fulfils these conditions in 
regard to himself. It follows, then, that a greater number of goods is 
a greater good than one or than a smaller number, if that one or 
that smaller number is included in the count; for then the larger 
number surpasses the smaller, and the smaller quantity is surpassed as 
being contained in the larger. 

Again, if the largest member of one class surpasses the largest 
member of another, then the one class surpasses the other; and if 
one class surpasses another, then the largest member of the one 
surpasses the largest member of the other. Thus, if the tallest man is 
taller than the tallest woman, then men in general are taller than 
women. Conversely, if men in general are taller than women, then the 
tallest man is taller than the tallest woman. For the superiority of 
class over class is proportionate to the superiority possessed by 
their largest specimens. Again, where one good is always accompanied 
by another, but does not always accompany it, it is greater than the 
other, for the use of the second thing is implied in the use of the 
first. A thing may be accompanied by another in three ways, either 
simultaneously, subsequently, or potentially. Life accompanies 
health simultaneously (but not health life) , knowledge accompanies the 
act of learning subsequently, cheating accompanies sacrilege 
potentially, since a man who has committed sacrilege is always capable 
of cheating. Again, when two things each surpass a third, that which 
does so by the greater amount is the greater of the two; for it must 
surpass the greater as well as the less of the other two. A thing 
productive of a greater good than another is productive of is itself a 
greater good than that other. For this conception of 'productive of 
a greater' has been implied in our argument. Likewise, that which is 
produced by a greater good is itself a greater good; thus, if what 
is wholesome is more desirable and a greater good than what gives 
pleasure, health too must be a greater good than pleasure. Again, a 
thing which is desirable in itself is a greater good than a thing 
which is not desirable in itself, as for example bodily strength 
than what is wholesome, since the latter is not pursued for its own 
sake, whereas the former is; and this was our definition of the 
good. Again, if one of two things is an end, and the other is not, the 
former is the greater good, as being chosen for its own sake and not 
for the sake of something else; as, for example, exercise is chosen 
for the sake of physical well-being. And of two things that which 
stands less in need of the other, or of other things, is the greater 
good, since it is more self-sufficing. (That which stands 'less' in 
need of others is that which needs either fewer or easier things.) 
So when one thing does not exist or cannot come into existence without 
a second, while the second can exist without the first, the second 
is the better. That which does not need something else is more 
self-sufficing than that which does, and presents itself as a 



greater good for that reason. Again, that which is a beginning of 
other things is a greater good than that which is not, and that 
which is a cause is a greater good than that which is not; the 
reason being the same in each case, namely that without a cause and 
a beginning nothing can exist or come into existence. Again, where 
there are two sets of consequences arising from two different 
beginnings or causes, the consequences of the more important beginning 
or cause are themselves the more important; and conversely, that 
beginning or cause is itself the more important which has the more 
important consequences. Now it is plain, from all that has been 
said, that one thing may be shown to be more important than another 
from two opposite points of view: it may appear the more important (1) 
because it is a beginning and the other thing is not, and also (2) 
because it is not a beginning and the other thing is-on the ground 
that the end is more important and is not a beginning. So Leodamas, 
when accusing Callistratus, said that the man who prompted the deed 
was more guilty than the doer, since it would not have been done if he 
had not planned it. On the other hand, when accusing Chabrias he 
said that the doer was worse than the prompter, since there would have 
been no deed without some one to do it; men, said he, plot a thing 
only in order to carry it out. 

Further, what is rare is a greater good than what is plentiful. 
Thus, gold is a better thing than iron, though less useful: it is 
harder to get, and therefore better worth getting. Reversely, it may 
be argued that the plentiful is a better thing than the rare, 
because we can make more use of it. For what is often useful surpasses 
what is seldom useful, whence the saying: 

The best of things is water. 

More generally: the hard thing is better than the easy, because it 
is rarer: and reversely, the easy thing is better than the hard, for 
it is as we wish it to be. That is the greater good whose contrary 
is the greater evil, and whose loss affects us more. Positive goodness 
and badness are more important than the mere absence of goodness and 
badness: for positive goodness and badness are ends, which the mere 
absence of them cannot be. Further, in proportion as the functions 
of things are noble or base, the things themselves are good or bad: 
conversely, in proportion as the things themselves are good or bad, 
their functions also are good or bad; for the nature of results 
corresponds with that of their causes and beginnings, and conversely 
the nature of causes and beginnings corresponds with that of their 
results. Moreover, those things are greater goods, superiority in 
which is more desirable or more honourable. Thus, keenness of sight is 
more desirable than keenness of smell, sight generally being more 
desirable than smell generally; and similarly, unusually great love of 
friends being more honourable than unusually great love of money, 
ordinary love of friends is more honourable than ordinary love of 
money. Conversely, if one of two normal things is better or nobler 
than the other, an unusual degree of that thing is better or nobler 
than an unusual degree of the other. Again, one thing is more 
honourable or better than another if it is more honourable or better 
to desire it; the importance of the object of a given instinct 
corresponds to the importance of the instinct itself; and for the same 
reason, if one thing is more honourable or better than another, it 
is more honourable and better to desire it. Again, if one science is 
more honourable and valuable than another, the activity with which 
it deals is also more honourable and valuable; as is the science, so 
is the reality that is its object, each science being authoritative in 
its own sphere. So, also, the more valuable and honourable the 
object of a science, the more valuable and honourable the science 
itself is-in consequence. Again, that which would be judged, or 
which has been judged, a good thing, or a better thing than 
something else, by all or most people of understanding, or by the 



majority of men, or by the ablest, must be so; either without 
qualification, or in so far as they use their understanding to form 
their judgement. This is indeed a general principle, applicable to all 
other judgements also; not only the goodness of things, but their 
essence, magnitude, and general nature are in fact just what knowledge 
and understanding will declare them to be. Here the principle is 
applied to judgements of goodness, since one definition of 'good' 
was 'what beings that acquire understanding will choose in any given 
case' : from which it clearly follows that that thing is hetter which 
understanding declares to be so. That, again, is a better thing 
which attaches to better men, either absolutely, or in virtue of their 
being better; as courage is better than strength. And that is a 
greater good which would be chosen by a better man, either absolutely, 
or in virtue of his being better: for instance, to suffer wrong rather 
than to do wrong, for that would be the choice of the juster man. 
Again, the pleasanter of two things is the better, since all things 
pursue pleasure, and things instinctively desire pleasurable sensation 
for its own sake; and these are two of the characteristics by which 
the 'good' and the 'end' have been defined. One pleasure is greater 
than another if it is more unmixed with pain, or more lasting. 
Again, the nobler thing is better than the less noble, since the noble 
is either what is pleasant or what is desirable in itself. And those 
things also are greater goods which men desire more earnestly to bring 
about for themselves or for their friends, whereas those things 
which they least desire to bring about are greater evils. And those 
things which are more lasting are better than those which are more 
fleeting, and the more secure than the less; the enjoyment of the 
lasting has the advantage of being longer, and that of the secure 
has the advantage of suiting our wishes, being there for us whenever 
we like. Further, in accordance with the rule of co-ordinate terms and 
inflexions of the same stem, what is true of one such related word 
is true of all. Thus if the action qualified by the term 'brave' is 
more noble and desirable than the action qualified by the term 
'temperate', then 'bravery' is more desirable than 'temperance' and 
'being brave' than 'being temperate'. That, again, which is chosen 
by all is a greater good than that which is not, and that chosen by 
the majority than that chosen by the minority. For that which all 
desire is good, as we have said; ' and so, the more a thing is desired, 
the better it is. Further, that is the better thing which is 
considered so by competitors or enemies, or, again, by authorized 
judges or those whom they select to represent them. In the first two 
cases the decision is virtually that of every one, in the last two 
that of authorities and experts. And sometimes it may be argued that 
what all share is the better thing, since it is a dishonour not to 
share in it; at other times, that what none or few share is better, 
since it is rarer. The more praiseworthy things are, the nobler and 
therefore the better they are. So with the things that earn greater 
honours than others-honour is, as it were, a measure of value; and the 
things whose absence involves comparatively heavy penalties; and the 
things that are better than others admitted or believed to be good. 
Moreover, things look better merely by being divided into their parts, 
since they then seem to surpass a greater number of things than 
before. Hence Homer says that Meleager was roused to battle by the 
thought of 

All horrors that light on a folk whose city 

is ta ' en of their foes, 
When they slaughter the men, when the burg is 

wasted with ravening flame, 
When strangers are haling young children to thraldom, 

(fair women to shame.) 

The same effect is produced by piling up facts in a climax after the 
manner of Epicharmus. The reason is partly the same as in the case 



of division (for combination too makes the impression of great 
superiority) , and partly that the original thing appears to be the 
cause and origin of important results. And since a thing is better 
when it is harder or rarer than other things, its superiority may be 
due to seasons, ages, places, times, or one's natural powers. When a 
man accomplishes something beyond his natural power, or beyond his 
years, or beyond the measure of people like him, or in a special 
way, or at a special place or time, his deed will have a high degree 
of nobleness, goodness, and justice, or of their opposites. Hence 
the epigram on the victor at the Olympic games: 

In time past, hearing a Yoke on my shoulders, 

of wood unshaven, 
I carried my loads of fish from, Argos to Tegea town. 

So Iphicrates used to extol himself by describing the low estate 
from which he had risen. Again, what is natural is better than what is 
acquired, since it is harder to come by. Hence the words of Homer: 

I have learnt from none but mysell. 

And the best part of a good thing is particularly good; as when 
Pericles in his funeral oration said that the country's loss of its 
young men in battle was 'as if the spring were taken out of the year' . 
So with those things which are of service when the need is pressing; 
for example, in old age and times of sickness. And of two things 
that which leads more directly to the end in view is the better. So 
too is that which is better for people generally as well as for a 
particular individual. Again, what can be got is better than what 
cannot, for it is good in a given case and the other thing is not. And 
what is at the end of life is better than what is not, since those 
things are ends in a greater degree which are nearer the end. What 
aims at reality is better than what aims at appearance. We may 
define what aims at appearance as what a man will not choose if nobody 
is to know of his having it. This would seem to show that to receive 
benefits is more desirable than to confer them, since a man will 
choose the former even if nobody is to know of it, but it is not the 
general view that he will choose the latter if nobody knows of it. 
What a man wants to be is better than what a man wants to seem, for in 
aiming at that he is aiming more at reality. Hence men say that 
justice is of small value, since it is more desirable to seem just 
than to be just, whereas with health it is not so. That is better than 
other things which is more useful than they are for a number of 
different purposes; for example, that which promotes life, good 
life, pleasure, and noble conduct. For this reason wealth and health 
are commonly thought to be of the highest value, as possessing all 
these advantages. Again, that is better than other things which is 
accompanied both with less pain and with actual pleasure; for here 
there is more than one advantage; and so here we have the good of 
feeling pleasure and also the good of not feeling pain. And of two 
good things that is the better whose addition to a third thing makes a 
better whole than the addition of the other to the same thing will 
make. Again, those things which we are seen to possess are better than 
those which we are not seen to possess, since the former have the 
air of reality. Hence wealth may be regarded as a greater good if 
its existence is known to others. That which is dearly prized is 
better than what is not-the sort of thing that some people have only 
one of, though others have more like it. Accordingly, blinding a 
one-eyed man inflicts worse injury than half-blinding a man with two 
eyes; for the one-eyed man has been robbed of what he dearly prized. 

The grounds on which we must base our arguments, when we are 
speaking for or against a proposal, have now been set forth more or 
less completely. 



The most important and effective qualification for success in 
persuading audiences and speaking well on public affairs is to 
understand all the forms of government and to discriminate their 
respective customs, institutions, and interests. For all men are 
persuaded by considerations of their interest, and their interest lies 
in the maintenance of the established order. Further, it rests with 
the supreme authority to give authoritative decisions, and this varies 
with each form of government; there are as many different supreme 
authorities as there are different forms of government. The forms of 
government are four-democracy, oligarchy, aristocracy, monarchy. The 
supreme right to judge and decide always rests, therefore, with either 
a part or the whole of one or other of these governing powers. 

A Democracy is a form of government under which the citizens 
distribute the offices of state among themselves by lot, whereas under 
oligarchy there is a property qualification, under aristocracy one 
of education. By education I mean that education which is laid down by 
the law; for it is those who have been loyal to the national 
institutions that hold office under an aristocracy. These are bound to 
be looked upon as 'the best men', and it is from this fact that this 
form of government has derived its name ('the rule of the best') . 
Monarchy, as the word implies, is the constitution a in which one 
man has authority over all. There are two forms of monarchy: kingship, 
which is limited by prescribed conditions, and 'tyranny', which is not 
limited by anything. 

We must also notice the ends which the various forms of government 
pursue, since people choose in practice such actions as will lead to 
the realization of their ends. The end of democracy is freedom; of 
oligarchy, wealth; of aristocracy, the maintenance of education and 
national institutions; of tyranny, the protection of the tyrant. It is 
clear, then, that we must distinguish those particular customs, 
institutions, and interests which tend to realize the ideal of each 
constitution, since men choose their means with reference to their 
ends. But rhetorical persuasion is effected not only by 
demonstrative but by ethical argument; it helps a speaker to 
convince us, if we believe that he has certain qualities himself, 
namely, goodness, or goodwill towards us, or both together. Similarly, 
we should know the moral qualities characteristic of each form of 
government, for the special moral character of each is bound to 
provide us with our most effective means of persuasion in dealing with 
it. We shall learn the qualities of governments in the same way as 
we learn the qualities of individuals, since they are revealed in 
their deliberate acts of choice; and these are determined by the end 
that inspires them. 

We have now considered the objects, immediate or distant, at which 
we are to aim when urging any proposal, and the grounds on which we 
are to base our arguments in favour of its utility. We have also 
briefly considered the means and methods by which we shall gain a good 
knowledge of the moral qualities and institutions peculiar to the 
various forms of government-only, however, to the extent demanded by 
the present occasion; a detailed account of the subject has been given 
in the Politics. 



We have now to consider Virtue and Vice, the Noble and the Base, 
since these are the objects of praise and blame. In doing so, we shall 
at the same time be finding out how to make our hearers take the 
required view of our own characters-our second method of persuasion. 
The ways in which to make them trust the goodness of other people 
are also the ways in which to make them trust our own. Praise, 
again, may be serious or frivolous; nor is it always of a human or 
divine being but often of inanimate things, or of the humblest of 



the lower animals. Here too we must know on what grounds to argue, and 
must, therefore, now discuss the subject, though by way of 
illustration only. 

The Noble is that which is both desirable for its own sake and 
also worthy of praise; or that which is both good and also pleasant 
because good. If this is a true definition of the Noble, it follows 
that virtue must be noble, since it is both a good thing and also 
praiseworthy. Virtue is, according to the usual view, a faculty of 
providing and preserving good things; or a faculty of conferring 
many great benefits, and benefits of all kinds on all occasions. The 
forms of Virtue are justice, courage, temperance, magnificence, 
magnanimity, liberality, gentleness, prudence, wisdom. If virtue is 
a faculty of beneficence, the highest kinds of it must be those 
which are most useful to others, and for this reason men honour most 
the just and the courageous, since courage is useful to others in war, 
justice both in war and in peace. Next comes liberality; liberal 
people let their money go instead of fighting for it, whereas other 
people care more for money than for anything else. Justice is the 
virtue through which everybody enjoys his own possessions in 
accordance with the law; its opposite is injustice, through which 
men enjoy the possessions of others in defiance of the law. Courage is 
the virtue that disposes men to do noble deeds in situations of 
danger, in accordance with the law and in obedience to its commands; 
cowardice is the opposite. Temperance is the virtue that disposes us 
to obey the law where physical pleasures are concerned; incontinence 
is the opposite. Liberality disposes us to spend money for others' 
good; illiberality is the opposite. Magnanimity is the virtue that 
disposes us to do good to others on a large scale; [its opposite is 
meanness of spirit] . Magnificence is a virtue productive of 
greatness in matters involving the spending of money. The opposites of 
these two are smallness of spirit and meanness respectively. 
Prudence is that virtue of the understanding which enables men to come 
to wise decisions about the relation to happiness of the goods and 
evils that have been previously mentioned. 

The above is a sufficient account, for our present purpose, of 
virtue and vice in general, and of their various forms. As to 
further aspects of the subject, it is not difficult to discern the 
facts; it is evident that things productive of virtue are noble, as 
tending towards virtue; and also the effects of virtue, that is, the 
signs of its presence and the acts to which it leads. And since the 
signs of virtue, and such acts as it is the mark of a virtuous man 
to do or have done to him, are noble, it follows that all deeds or 
signs of courage, and everything done courageously, must be noble 
things; and so with what is just and actions done justly. (Not, 
however, actions justly done to us; here justice is unlike the other 
virtues; 'justly' does not always mean 'nobly'; when a man is 
punished, it is more shameful that this should be justly than unjustly 
done to him) . The same is true of the other virtues. Again, those 
actions are noble for which the reward is simply honour, or honour 
more than money. So are those in which a man aims at something 
desirable for some one else's sake; actions good absolutely, such as 
those a man does for his country without thinking of himself; 
actions good in their own nature; actions that are not good simply for 
the individual, since individual interests are selfish. Noble also are 
those actions whose advantage may be enjoyed after death, as opposed 
to those whose advantage is enjoyed during one's lifetime: for the 
latter are more likely to be for one's own sake only. Also, all 
actions done for the sake of others, since less than other actions are 
done for one's own sake; and all successes which benefit others and 
not oneself; and services done to one's benefactors, for this is just; 
and good deeds generally, since they are not directed to one's own 
profit. And the opposites of those things of which men feel ashamed, 
for men are ashamed of saying, doing, or intending to do shameful 
things. So when Alcacus said 



Something I fain would say to thee, 
Only shame restraineth me, 

Sappho wrote 

If for things good and noble thou wert yearning, 
If to speak baseness were thy tongue not burning, 
No load of shame would on thine eyelids weigh; 
What thou with honour wishest thou wouldst say. 

Those things, also, are noble for which men strive anxiously, 
without feeling fear; for they feel thus about the good things which 
lead to fair fame. Again, one quality or action is nobler than another 
if it is that of a naturally finer being: thus a man's will be 
nobler than a woman's. And those qualities are noble which give more 
pleasure to other people than to their possessors; hence the nobleness 
of justice and just actions. It is noble to avenge oneself on one's 
enemies and not to come to terms with them; for requital is just, 
and the just is noble; and not to surrender is a sign of courage. 
Victory, too, and honour belong to the class of noble things, since 
they are desirable even when they yield no fruits, and they prove 
our superiority in good qualities. Things that deserve to be 
remembered are noble, and the more they deserve this, the nobler 
they are. So are the things that continue even after death; those 
which are always attended by honour; those which are exceptional; 
and those which are possessed by one person alone-these last are 
more readily remembered than others. So again are possessions that 
bring no profit, since they are more fitting than others for a 
gentleman. So are the distinctive qualities of a particular people, 
and the symbols of what it specially admires, like long hair in 
Sparta, where this is a mark of a free man, as it is not easy to 
perform any menial task when one's hair is long. Again, it is noble 
not to practise any sordid craft, since it is the mark of a free man 
not to live at another's beck and call. We are also to assume when 
we wish either to praise a man or blame him that qualities closely 
allied to those which he actually has are identical with them; for 
instance, that the cautious man is cold-blooded and treacherous, and 
that the stupid man is an honest fellow or the thick-skinned man a 
good-tempered one. We can always idealize any given man by drawing 
on the virtues akin to his actual qualities; thus we may say that 
the passionate and excitable man is 'outspoken'; or that the 
arrogant man is 'superb' or 'impressive' . Those who run to extremes 
will be said to possess the corresponding good qualities; rashness 
will be called courage, and extravagance generosity. That will be what 
most people think; and at the same time this method enables an 
advocate to draw a misleading inference from the motive, arguing 
that if a man runs into danger needlessly, much more will he do so 
in a noble cause; and if a man is open-handed to any one and every 
one, he will be so to his friends also, since it is the extreme form 
of goodness to be good to everybody. 

We must also take into account the nature of our particular audience 
when making a speech of praise; for, as Socrates used to say, 'it is 
not difficult to praise the Athenians to an Athenian audience. ' If the 
audience esteems a given quality, we must say that our hero has that 
quality, no matter whether we are addressing Scythians or Spartans 
or philosophers. Everything, in fact, that is esteemed we are to 
represent as noble. After all, people regard the two things as much 
the same. 

All actions are noble that are appropriate to the man who does them: 
if, for instance, they are worthy of his ancestors or of his own 
past career. For it makes for happiness, and is a noble thing, that he 
should add to the honour he already has. Even inappropriate actions 
are noble if they are better and nobler than the appropriate ones 



would be; for instance, if one who was just an average person when all 
went well becomes a hero in adversity, or if he becomes better and 
easier to get on with the higher he rises. Compare the saying of 
lphicrates, 'Think what I was and what I am'; and the epigram on the 
victor at the Olympic games, 

In time past, bearing a yoke on my shoulders, 
of wood unshaven, 

and the encomium of Simonides, 

A woman whose father, whose husband, whose 
brethren were princes all. 

Since we praise a man for what he has actually done, and fine 
actions are distinguished from others by being intentionally good, 
we must try to prove that our hero's noble acts are intentional. 
This is all the easier if we can make out that he has often acted so 
before, and therefore we must assert coincidences and accidents to 
have been intended. Produce a number of good actions, all of the 
same kind, and people will think that they must have been intended, 
and that they prove the good qualities of the man who did them. 

Praise is the expression in words of the eminence of a man's good 
qualities, and therefore we must display his actions as the product of 
such qualities. Encomium refers to what he has actually done; the 
mention of accessories, such as good birth and education, merely helps 
to make our story credible-good fathers are likely to have good 
sons, and good training is likely to produce good character. Hence 
it is only when a man has already done something that we bestow 
encomiums upon him. Yet the actual deeds are evidence of the doer's 
character: even if a man has not actually done a given good thing, 
we shall bestow praise on him, if we are sure that he is the sort of 
man who would do it. To call any one blest is, it may be added, the 
same thing as to call him happy; but these are not the same thing as 
to bestow praise and encomium upon him; the two latter are a part of 
'calling happy', just as goodness is a part of happiness. 

To praise a man is in one respect akin to urging a course of action. 
The suggestions which would be made in the latter case become 
encomiums when differently expressed. When we know what action or 
character is required, then, in order to express these facts as 
suggestions for action, we have to change and reverse our form of 
words. Thus the statement 'A man should be proud not of what he owes 
to fortune but of what he owes to himself', if put like this, 
amounts to a suggestion; to make it into praise we must put it thus, 
'Since he is proud not of what he owes to fortune but of what he 
owes to himself. ' Consequently, whenever you want to praise any one, 
think what you would urge people to do; and when you want to urge 
the doing of anything, think what you would praise a man for having 
done. Since suggestion may or may not forbid an action, the praise 
into which we convert it must have one or other of two opposite 
forms of expression accordingly. 

There are, also, many useful ways of heightening the effect of 
praise. We must, for instance, point out that a man is the only one, 
or the first, or almost the only one who has done something, or that 
he has done it better than any one else; all these distinctions are 
honourable. And we must, further, make much of the particular season 
and occasion of an action, arguing that we could hardly have looked 
for it just then. If a man has often achieved the same success, we 
must mention this; that is a strong point; he himself, and not luck, 
will then be given the credit. So, too, if it is on his account that 
observances have been devised and instituted to encourage or honour 
such achievements as his own: thus we may praise Hippolochus because 
the first encomium ever made was for him, or Harmodius and 
Aristogeiton because their statues were the first to be put up in 



the market-place. And we may censure bad men for the opposite reason. 

Again, if you cannot find enough to say of a man himself, you may 
pit him against others, which is what Isocrates used to do owing to 
his want of familiarity with forensic pleading. The comparison 
should be with famous men; that will strengthen your case; it is a 
noble thing to surpass men who are themselves great. It is only 
natural that methods of 'heightening the effect' should be attached 
particularly to speeches of praise; they aim at proving superiority 
over others, and any such superiority is a form of nobleness. Hence if 
you cannot compare your hero with famous men, you should at least 
compare him with other people generally, since any superiority is held 
to reveal excellence. And, in general, of the lines of argument 
which are common to all speeches, this 'heightening of effect' is most 
suitable for declamations, where we take our hero's actions as 
admitted facts, and our business is simply to invest these with 
dignity and nobility. 'Examples' are most suitable to deliberative 
speeches; for we judge of future events by divination from past 
events. Enthymemes are most suitable to forensic speeches; it is our 
doubts about past events that most admit of arguments showing why a 
thing must have happened or proving that it did happen. 

The above are the general lines on which all, or nearly all, 
speeches of praise or blame are constructed. We have seen the sort 
of thing we must bear in mind in making such speeches, and the 
materials out of which encomiums and censures are made. No special 
treatment of censure and vituperation is needed. Knowing the above 
facts, we know their contraries; and it is out of these that 
speeches of censure are made. 

10 

We have next to treat of Accusation and Defence, and to enumerate 
and describe the ingredients of the syllogisms used therein. There are 
three things we must ascertain first, the nature and number of the 
incentives to wrong-doing; second, the state of mind of wrongdoers; 
third, the kind of persons who are wronged, and their condition. We 
will deal with these questions in order. But before that let us define 
the act of 'wrong-doing' . 

We may describe 'wrong-doing' as injury voluntarily inflicted 
contrary to law. 'Law' is either special or general. By special law 
I mean that written law which regulates the life of a particular 
community; by general law, all those unwritten principles which are 
supposed to be acknowledged everywhere. We do things 'voluntarily' 
when we do them consciously and without constraint. (Not all voluntary 
acts are deliberate, but all deliberate acts are conscious-no one is 
ignorant of what he deliberately intends.) The causes of our 
deliberately intending harmful and wicked acts contrary to law are (1) 
vice, (2) lack of self-control. For the wrongs a man does to others 
will correspond to the bad quality or qualities that he himself 
possesses. Thus it is the mean man who will wrong others about 
money, the profligate in matters of physical pleasure, the 
effeminate in matters of comfort, and the coward where danger is 
concerned-his terror makes him abandon those who are involved in the 
same danger. The ambitious man does wrong for sake of honour, the 
quick-tempered from anger, the lover of victory for the sake of 
victory, the embittered man for the sake of revenge, the stupid man 
because he has misguided notions of right and wrong, the shameless man 
because he does not mind what people think of him; and so with the 
rest-any wrong that any one does to others corresponds to his 
particular faults of character. 

However, this subject has already been cleared up in part in our 
discussion of the virtues and will be further explained later when 
we treat of the emotions. We have now to consider the motives and 
states of mind of wrongdoers, and to whom they do wrong. 

Let us first decide what sort of things people are trying to get 



or avoid when they set about doing wrong to others. For it is plain 
that the prosecutor must consider, out of all the aims that can ever 
induce us to do wrong to our neighbours, how many, and which, affect 
his adversary; while the defendant must consider how many, and 
which, do not affect him. Now every action of every person either is 
or is not due to that person himself. Of those not due to himself some 
are due to chance, the others to necessity; of these latter, again, 
some are due to compulsion, the others to nature. Consequently all 
actions that are not due to a man himself are due either to chance 
or to nature or to compulsion. All actions that are due to a man 
himself and caused by himself are due either to habit or to rational 
or irrational craving. Rational craving is a craving for good, i.e. 
a wish-nobody wishes for anything unless he thinks it good. Irrational 
craving is twofold, viz. anger and appetite. 

Thus every action must be due to one or other of seven causes: 
chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reasoning, anger, or appetite. It 
is superfluous further to distinguish actions according to the 
doers' ages, moral states, or the like; it is of course true that, for 
instance, young men do have hot tempers and strong appetites; still, 
it is not through youth that they act accordingly, but through anger 
or appetite. Nor, again, is action due to wealth or poverty; it is 
of course true that poor men, being short of money, do have an 
appetite for it, and that rich men, being able to command needless 
pleasures, do have an appetite for such pleasures: but here, again, 
their actions will be due not to wealth or poverty but to appetite. 
Similarly, with just men, and unjust men, and all others who are 
said to act in accordance with their moral qualities, their actions 
will really be due to one of the causes mentioned-either reasoning 
or emotion: due, indeed, sometimes to good dispositions and good 
emotions, and sometimes to bad; but that good qualities should be 
followed by good emotions, and bad by bad, is merely an accessory 
fact-it is no doubt true that the temperate man, for instance, because 
he is temperate, is always and at once attended by healthy opinions 
and appetites in regard to pleasant things, and the intemperate man by 
unhealthy ones. So we must ignore such distinctions. Still we must 
consider what kinds of actions and of people usually go together; 
for while there are no definite kinds of action associated with the 
fact that a man is fair or dark, tall or short, it does make a 
difference if he is young or old, just or unjust. And, generally 
speaking, all those accessory qualities that cause distinctions of 
human character are important: e.g. the sense of wealth or poverty, of 
being lucky or unlucky. This shall be dealt with later-let us now deal 
first with the rest of the subject before us. 

The things that happen by chance are all those whose cause cannot be 
determined, that have no purpose, and that happen neither always nor 
usually nor in any fixed way. The definition of chance shows just what 
they are. Those things happen by nature which have a fixed and 
internal cause; they take place uniformly, either always or usually. 
There is no need to discuss in exact detail the things that happen 
contrary to nature, nor to ask whether they happen in some sense 
naturally or from some other cause; it would seem that chance is at 
least partly the cause of such events. Those things happen through 
compulsion which take place contrary to the desire or reason of the 
doer, yet through his own agency. Acts are done from habit which men 
do because they have often done them before. Actions are due to 
reasoning when, in view of any of the goods already mentioned, they 
appear useful either as ends or as means to an end, and are 
performed for that reason: 'for that reason, ' since even licentious 
persons perform a certain number of useful actions, but because they 
are pleasant and not because they are useful. To passion and anger are 
due all acts of revenge. Revenge and punishment are different 
things. Punishment is inflicted for the sake of the person punished; 
revenge for that of the punisher, to satisfy his feelings. (What anger 
is will be made clear when we come to discuss the emotions.) 



Appetite is the cause of all actions that appear pleasant. Habit, 
whether acquired by mere familiarity or by effort, belongs to the 
class of pleasant things, for there are many actions not naturally 
pleasant which men perform with pleasure, once they have become used 
to them. To sum up then, all actions due to ourselves either are or 
seem to be either good or pleasant. Moreover, as all actions due to 
ourselves are done voluntarily and actions not due to ourselves are 
done involuntarily, it follows that all voluntary actions must 
either be or seem to be either good or pleasant; for I reckon among 
goods escape from evils or apparent evils and the exchange of a 
greater evil for a less (since these things are in a sense 
positively desirable) , and likewise I count among pleasures escape 
from painful or apparently painful things and the exchange of a 
greater pain for a less. We must ascertain, then, the number and 
nature of the things that are useful and pleasant. The useful has been 
previously examined in connexion with political oratory; let us now 
proceed to examine the pleasant. Our various definitions must be 
regarded as adequate, even if they are not exact, provided they are 
clear . 

11 

We may lay it down that Pleasure is a movement, a movement by 
which the soul as a whole is consciously brought into its normal state 
of being; and that Pain is the opposite. If this is what pleasure 
is, it is clear that the pleasant is what tends to produce this 
condition, while that which tends to destroy it, or to cause the 
soul to be brought into the opposite state, is painful. It must 
therefore be pleasant as a rule to move towards a natural state of 
being, particularly when a natural process has achieved the complete 
recovery of that natural state. Habits also are pleasant; for as 
soon as a thing has become habitual, it is virtually natural; habit is 
a thing not unlike nature; what happens often is akin to what 
happens always, natural events happening always, habitual events 
often. Again, that is pleasant which is not forced on us; for force is 
unnatural, and that is why what is compulsory, painful, and it has 
been rightly said 

All that is done on compulsion is bitterness unto the soul. 

So all acts of concentration, strong effort, and strain are 
necessarily painful; they all involve compulsion and force, unless 
we are accustomed to them, in which case it is custom that makes 
them pleasant. The opposites to these are pleasant; and hence ease, 
freedom from toil, relaxation, amusement, rest, and sleep belong to 
the class of pleasant things; for these are all free from any 
element of compulsion. Everything, too, is pleasant for which we 
have the desire within us, since desire is the craving for pleasure. 
Of the desires some are irrational, some associated with reason. By 
irrational I mean those which do not arise from any opinion held by 
the mind. Of this kind are those known as 'natural'; for instance, 
those originating in the body, such as the desire for nourishment, 
namely hunger and thirst, and a separate kind of desire answering to 
each kind of nourishment; and the desires connected with taste and sex 
and sensations of touch in general; and those of smell, hearing, and 
vision. Rational desires are those which we are induced to have; there 
are many things we desire to see or get because we have been told of 
them and induced to believe them good. Further, pleasure is the 
consciousness through the senses of a certain kind of emotion; but 
imagination is a feeble sort of sensation, and there will always be in 
the mind of a man who remembers or expects something an image or 
picture of what he remembers or expects. If this is so, it is clear 
that memory and expectation also, being accompanied by sensation, 
may be accompanied by pleasure. It follows that anything pleasant is 



either present and perceived, past and remembered, or future and 
expected, since we perceive present pleasures, remember past ones, and 
expect future ones . Now the things that are pleasant to remember are 
not only those that, when actually perceived as present, were 
pleasant, but also some things that were not, provided that their 
results have subsequently proved noble and good. Hence the words 
Sweet 'tis when rescued to remember pain, 



and 



Even his griefs are a joy long after to one that remembers 
All that he wrought and endured. 



The reason of this is that it is pleasant even to be merely free 
from evil. The things it is pleasant to expect are those that when 
present are felt to afford us either great delight or great but not 
painful benefit. And in general, all the things that delight us when 
they are present also do so, as a rule, when we merely remember or 
expect them. Hence even being angry is pleasant-Homer said of wrath 
that 

Sweeter it is by far than the honeycomb dripping with sweetness- 

for no one grows angry with a person on whom there is no prospect of 
taking vengeance, and we feel comparatively little anger, or none at 
all, with those who are much our superiors in power. Some pleasant 
feeling is associated with most of our appetites we are enjoying 
either the memory of a past pleasure or the expectation of a future 
one, just as persons down with fever, during their attacks of 
thirst, enjoy remembering the drinks they have had and looking forward 
to having more. So also a lover enjoys talking or writing about his 
loved one, or doing any little thing connected with him; all these 
things recall him to memory and make him actually present to the eye 
of imagination. Indeed, it is always the first sign of love, that 
besides enjoying some one's presence, we remember him when he is gone, 
and feel pain as well as pleasure, because he is there no longer. 
Similarly there is an element of pleasure even in mourning and 
lamentation for the departed. There is grief, indeed, at his loss, but 
pleasure in remembering him and as it were seeing him before us in his 
deeds and in his life. We can well believe the poet when he says 

He spake, and in each man's heart he awakened 
the love of lament. 

Revenge, too, is pleasant; it is pleasant to get anything that it is 
painful to fail to get, and angry people suffer extreme pain when they 
fail to get their revenge; but they enjoy the prospect of getting 
it. Victory also is pleasant, and not merely to 'bad losers', but to 
every one; the winner sees himself in the light of a champion, and 
everybody has a more or less keen appetite for being that. The 
pleasantness of victory implies of course that combative sports and 
intellectual contests are pleasant (since in these it often happens 
that some one wins) and also games like knuckle-bones, ball, dice, and 
draughts. And similarly with the serious sports; some of these 
become pleasant when one is accustomed to them; while others are 
pleasant from the first, like hunting with hounds, or indeed any 
kind of hunting. For where there is competition, there is victory. 
That is why forensic pleading and debating contests are pleasant to 
those who are accustomed to them and have the capacity for them. 
Honour and good repute are among the most pleasant things of all; they 
make a man see himself in the character of a fine fellow, especially 
when he is credited with it by people whom he thinks good judges. 
His neighbours are better judges than people at a distance; his 
associates and fellow-countrymen better than strangers; his 
contemporaries better than posterity; sensible persons better than 



foolish ones; a large number of people better than a small number: 
those of the former class, in each case, are the more likely to be 
good judges of him. Honour and credit bestowed by those whom you think 
much inferior to yourself-e . g . children or animals-you do not value: 
not for its own sake, anyhow: if you do value it, it is for some other 
reason. Friends belong to the class of pleasant things; it is pleasant 
to love-if you love wine, you certainly find it delightful: and it 
is pleasant to be loved, for this too makes a man see himself as the 
possessor of goodness, a thing that every being that has a feeling for 
it desires to possess: to be loved means to be valued for one's own 
personal qualities. To be admired is also pleasant, simply because 
of the honour implied. Flattery and flatterers are pleasant: the 
flatterer is a man who, you believe, admires and likes To do the 
same thing often is pleasant, since, as we saw, anything habitual is 
pleasant. And to change is also pleasant: change means an approach 
to nature, whereas invariable repetition of anything causes the 
excessive prolongation of a settled condition: therefore, says the 
poet, 

Change is in all things sweet. 

That is why what comes to us only at long intervals is pleasant, 
whether it be a person or a thing; for it is a change from what we had 
before, and, besides, what comes only at long intervals has the 
value of rarity. Learning things and wondering at things are also 
pleasant as a rule; wondering implies the desire of learning, so 
that the object of wonder is an object of desire; while in learning 
one is brought into one's natural condition. Conferring and 
receiving benefits belong to the class of pleasant things; to 
receive a benefit is to get what one desires; to confer a benefit 
implies both posses sion and superiority, both of which are things 
we try to attain. It is because beneficent acts are pleasant that 
people find it pleasant to put their neighbours straight again and 
to supply what they lack. Again, since learning and wondering are 
pleasant, it follows that such things as acts of imitation must be 
pleasant-for instance, painting, sculpture, poetry and every product 
of skilful imitation; this latter, even if the object imitated is 
not itself pleasant; for it is not the object itself which here 
gives delight; the spectator draws inferences ('That is a 
so-and-so') and thus learns something fresh. Dramatic turns of fortune 
and hairbreadth escapes from perils are pleasant, because we feel 
all such things are wonderful. 

And since what is natural is pleasant, and things akin to each other 
seem natural to each other, therefore all kindred and similar things 
are usually pleasant to each other; for instance, one man, horse, or 
young person is pleasant to another man, horse, or young person. Hence 
the proverbs 'mate delights mate', 'like to like', 'beast knows 
beast', 'jackdaw to jackdaw', and the rest of them. But since 
everything like and akin to oneself is pleasant, and since every man 
is himself more like and akin to himself than any one else is, it 
follows that all of us must be more or less fond of ourselves. For all 
this resemblance and kinship is present particularly in the relation 
of an individual to himself. And because we are all fond of ourselves, 
it follows that what is our own is pleasant to all of us, as for 
instance our own deeds and words. That is why we are usually fond of 
our flatterers, [our lovers,] and honour; also of our children, for 
our children are our own work. It is also pleasant to complete what is 
defective, for the whole thing thereupon becomes our own work. And 
since power over others is very pleasant, it is pleasant to be thought 
wise, for practical wisdom secures us power over others. (Scientific 
wisdom is also pleasant, because it is the knowledge of many wonderful 
things.) Again, since most of us are ambitious, it must be pleasant to 
disparage our neighbours as well as to have power over them. It is 
pleasant for a man to spend his time over what he feels he can do 



best; just as the poet says, 

To that he bends himself, 
To that each day allots most time, wherein 
He is indeed the best part of himself. 

Similarly, since amusement and every kind of relaxation and laughter 
too belong to the class of pleasant things, it follows that 
ludicrous things are pleasant, whether men, words, or deeds. We have 
discussed the ludicrous separately in the treatise on the Art of 
Poetry. 

So much for the subject of pleasant things: by considering their 
opposites we can easily see what things are unpleasant. 

12 

The above are the motives that make men do wrong to others; we are 
next to consider the states of mind in which they do it, and the 
persons to whom they do it. 

They must themselves suppose that the thing can be done, and done by 
them: either that they can do it without being found out, or that if 
they are found out they can escape being punished, or that if they are 
punished the disadvantage will be less than the gain for themselves or 
those they care for. The general subject of apparent possibility and 
impossibility will be handled later on, since it is relevant not 
only to forensic but to all kinds of speaking. But it may here be said 
that people think that they can themselves most easily do wrong to 
others without being punished for it if they possess eloquence, or 
practical ability, or much legal experience, or a large body of 
friends, or a great deal of money. Their confidence is greatest if 
they personally possess the advantages mentioned: but even without 
them they are satisfied if they have friends or supporters or partners 
who do possess them: they can thus both commit their crimes and escape 
being found out and punished for committing them. They are also 
safe, they think, if they are on good terms with their victims or with 
the judges who try them. Their victims will in that case not be on 
their guard against being wronged, and will make some arrangement with 
them instead of prosecuting; while their judges will favour them 
because they like them, either letting them off altogether or imposing 
light sentences. They are not likely to be found out if their 
appearance contradicts the charges that might be brought against them: 
for instance, a weakling is unlikely to be charged with violent 
assault, or a poor and ugly man with adultery. Public and open 
injuries are the easiest to do, because nobody could at all suppose 
them possible, and therefore no precautions are taken. The same is 
true of crimes so great and terrible that no man living could be 
suspected of them: here too no precautions are taken. For all men 
guard against ordinary offences, just as they guard against ordinary 
diseases; but no one takes precautions against a disease that nobody 
has ever had. You feel safe, too, if you have either no enemies or a 
great many; if you have none, you expect not to be watched and 
therefore not to be detected; if you have a great many, you will be 
watched, and therefore people will think you can never risk an attempt 
on them, and you can defend your innocence by pointing out that you 
could never have taken such a risk. You may also trust to hide your 
crime by the way you do it or the place you do it in, or by some 
convenient means of disposal. 

You may feel that even if you are found out you can stave off a 
trial, or have it postponed, or corrupt your judges: or that even if 
you are sentenced you can avoid paying damages, or can at least 
postpone doing so for a long time: or that you are so badly off that 
you will have nothing to lose. You may feel that the gain to be got by 
wrong-doing is great or certain or immediate, and that the penalty 
is small or uncertain or distant. It may be that the advantage to be 



gained is greater than any possible retribution: as in the case of 
despotic power, according to the popular view. You may consider your 
crimes as bringing you solid profit, while their punishment is nothing 
more than being called bad names. Or the opposite argument may 
appeal to you: your crimes may bring you some credit (thus you may, 
incidentally, be avenging your father or mother, like Zeno) , whereas 
the punishment may amount to a fine, or banishment, or something of 
that sort. People may be led on to wrong others by either of these 
motives or feelings; but no man by both-they will affect people of 
quite opposite characters. You may be encouraged by having often 
escaped detection or punishment already; or by having often tried 
and failed; for in crime, as in war, there are men who will always 
refuse to give up the struggle. You may get your pleasure on the 
spot and the pain later, or the gain on the spot and the loss later. 
That is what appeals to weak-willed persons--and weakness of will 
may be shown with regard to all the objects of desire. It may on the 
contrary appeal to you as it does appeal to self-controlled and 
sensible people--that the pain and loss are immediate, while the 
pleasure and profit come later and last longer. You may feel able to 
make it appear that your crime was due to chance, or to necessity, 
or to natural causes, or to habit: in fact, to put it generally, as if 
you had failed to do right rather than actually done wrong. You may be 
able to trust other people to judge you equitably. You may be 
stimulated by being in want: which may mean that you want necessaries, 
as poor people do, or that you want luxuries, as rich people do. You 
may be encouraged by having a particularly good reputation, because 
that will save you from being suspected: or by having a particularly 
bad one, because nothing you are likely to do will make it worse. 
The above, then, are the various states of mind in which a man 
sets about doing wrong to others. The kind of people to whom he does 
wrong, and the ways in which he does it, must be considered next. 
The people to whom he does it are those who have what he wants 
himself, whether this means necessities or luxuries and materials 
for enjoyment. His victims may be far off or near at hand. If they are 
near, he gets his profit quickly; if they are far off, vengeance is 
slow, as those think who plunder the Carthaginians. They may be 
those who are trustful instead of being cautious and watchful, since 
all such people are easy to elude. Or those who are too easy-going 
to have enough energy to prosecute an offender. Or sensitive people, 
who are not apt to show fight over questions of money. Or those who 
have been wronged already by many people, and yet have not prosecuted; 
such men must surely be the proverbial 'Mysian prey' . Or those who 
have either never or often been wronged before; in neither case will 
they take precautions; if they have never been wronged they think they 
never will, and if they have often been wronged they feel that 
surely it cannot happen again. Or those whose character has been 
attacked in the past, or is exposed to attack in the future: they will 
be too much frightened of the judges to make up their minds to 
prosecute, nor can they win their case if they do: this is true of 
those who are hated or unpopular. Another likely class of victim is 
those who their injurer can pretend have, themselves or through 
their ancestors or friends, treated badly, or intended to treat badly, 
the man himself, or his ancestors, or those he cares for; as the 
proverb says, 'wickedness needs but a pretext' . A man may wrong his 
enemies, because that is pleasant: he may equally wrong his friends, 
because that is easy. Then there are those who have no friends, and 
those who lack eloquence and practical capacity; these will either not 
attempt to prosecute, or they will come to terms, or failing that they 
will lose their case. There are those whom it does not pay to waste 
time in waiting for trial or damages, such as foreigners and small 
farmers; they will settle for a trifle, and always be ready to leave 
off. Also those who have themselves wronged others, either often, or 
in the same way as they are now being wronged themselves-f or it is 
felt that next to no wrong is done to people when it is the same wrong 



as they have often themselves done to others: if, for instance, you 
assault a man who has been accustomed to behave with violence to 
others. So too with those who have done wrong to others, or have meant 
to, or mean to, or are likely to do so; there is something fine and 
pleasant in wronging such persons, it seems as though almost no 
wrong were done. Also those by doing wrong to whom we shall be 
gratifying our friends, or those we admire or love, or our masters, or 
in general the people by reference to whom we mould our lives. Also 
those whom we may wrong and yet be sure of equitable treatment. Also 
those against whom we have had any grievance, or any previous 
differences with them, as Callippus had when he behaved as he did to 
Dion: here too it seems as if almost no wrong were being done. Also 
those who are on the point of being wronged by others if we fail to 
wrong them ourselves, since here we feel we have no time left for 
thinking the matter over. So Aenesidemus is said to have sent the 
' cottabus ' prize to Gelon, who had just reduced a town to slavery, 
because Gelon had got there first and forestalled his own attempt. 
Also those by wronging whom we shall be able to do many righteous 
acts; for we feel that we can then easily cure the harm done. Thus 
Jason the Thessalian said that it is a duty to do some unjust acts 
in order to be able to do many just ones. 

Among the kinds of wrong done to others are those that are done 
universally, or at least commonly: one expects to be forgiven for 
doing these. Also those that can easily be kept dark, as where 
things that can rapidly be consumed like eatables are concerned, or 
things that can easily be changed in shape, colour, or combination, or 
things that can easily be stowed away almost anywhere-portable objects 
that you can stow away in small corners, or things so like others of 
which you have plenty already that nobody can tell the difference. 
There are also wrongs of a kind that shame prevents the victim 
speaking about, such as outrages done to the women in his household or 
to himself or to his sons. Also those for which you would be thought 
very litigious to prosecute any one-trifling wrongs, or wrongs for 
which people are usually excused. 

The above is a fairly complete account of the circumstances under 
which men do wrong to others, of the sort of wrongs they do, of the 
sort of persons to whom they do them, and of their reasons for doing 
them. 

13 

It will now be well to make a complete classification of just and 
unjust actions. We may begin by observing that they have been 
defined relatively to two kinds of law, and also relatively to two 
classes of persons. By the two kinds of law I mean particular law 
and universal law. Particular law is that which each community lays 
down and applies to its own members: this is partly written and partly 
unwritten. Universal law is the law of Nature. For there really is, as 
every one to some extent divines, a natural justice and injustice that 
is binding on all men, even on those who have no association or 
covenant with each other. It is this that Sophocles' Antigone 
clearly means when she says that the burial of Polyneices was a just 
act in spite of the prohibition: she means that it was just by nature. 

Not of to-day or yesterday it is, 

But lives eternal: none can date its birth. 

And so Empedocles, when he bids us kill no living creature, says 
that doing this is not just for some people while unjust for others, 

Nay, but, an all-embracing law, through the realms of the sky 
Unbroken it stretcheth, and over the earth's immensity. 

And as Alcidamas says in his Messeniac Oration. . . . 

The actions that we ought to do or not to do have also been 



divided into two classes as affecting either the whole community or 
some one of its members. From this point of view we can perform just 
or unjust acts in either of two ways-towards one definite person, or 
towards the community. The man who is guilty of adultery or assault is 
doing wrong to some definite person; the man who avoids service in the 
army is doing wrong to the community. 

Thus the whole class of unjust actions may be divided into two 
classes, those affecting the community, and those affecting one or 
more other persons. We will next, before going further, remind 
ourselves of what 'being wronged' means. Since it has already been 
settled that 'doing a wrong' must be intentional, 'being wronged' must 
consist in having an injury done to you by some one who intends to 
do it. In order to be wronged, a man must (1) suffer actual harm, 
(2) suffer it against his will. The various possible forms of harm are 
clearly explained by our previous, separate discussion of goods and 
evils. We have also seen that a voluntary action is one where the doer 
knows what he is doing. We now see that every accusation must be of an 
action affecting either the community or some individual. The doer 
of the action must either understand and intend the action, or not 
understand and intend it. In the former case, he must be acting either 
from deliberate choice or from passion. (Anger will be discussed 
when we speak of the passions the motives for crime and the state of 
mind of the criminal have already been discussed.) Now it often 
happens that a man will admit an act, but will not admit the 
prosecutor's label for the act nor the facts which that label implies. 
He will admit that he took a thing but not that he 'stole' it; that he 
struck some one first, but not that he committed 'outrage'; that he 
had intercourse with a woman, but not that he committed 'adultery'; 
that he is guilty of theft, but not that he is guilty of 
'sacrilege', the object stolen not being consecrated; that he has 
encroached, but not that he has 'encroached on State lands'; that he 
has been in communication with the enemy, but not that he has been 
guilty of 'treason' . Here therefore we must be able to distinguish 
what is theft, outrage, or adultery, from what is not, if we are to be 
able to make the justice of our case clear, no matter whether our 
aim is to establish a man's guilt or to establish his innocence. 
Wherever such charges are brought against a man, the question is 
whether he is or is not guilty of a criminal offence. It is deliberate 
purpose that constitutes wickedness and criminal guilt, and such names 
as 'outrage' or 'theft' imply deliberate purpose as well as the mere 
action. A blow does not always amount to 'outrage', but only if it 
is struck with some such purpose as to insult the man struck or 
gratify the striker himself. Nor does taking a thing without the 
owner's knowledge always amount to 'theft', but only if it is taken 
with the intention of keeping it and injuring the owner. And as with 
these charges, so with all the others. 

We saw that there are two kinds of right and wrong conduct towards 
others, one provided for by written ordinances, the other by 
unwritten. We have now discussed the kind about which the laws have 
something to say. The other kind has itself two varieties. First, 
there is the conduct that springs from exceptional goodness or 
badness, and is visited accordingly with censure and loss of honour, 
or with praise and increase of honour and decorations: for instance, 
gratitude to, or requital of, our benefactors, readiness to help our 
friends, and the like. The second kind makes up for the defects of a 
community's written code of law. This is what we call equity; people 
regard it as just; it is, in fact, the sort of justice which goes 
beyond the written law. Its existence partly is and partly is not 
intended by legislators; not intended, where they have noticed no 
defect in the law; intended, where find themselves unable to define 
things exactly, and are obliged to legislate as if that held good 
always which in fact only holds good usually; or where it is not 
easy to be complete owing to the endless possible cases presented, 
such as the kinds and sizes of weapons that may be used to inflict 



wounds-a lifetime would be too short to make out a complete list of 
these. If, then, a precise statement is impossible and yet legislation 
is necessary, the law must be expressed in wide terms; and so, if a 
man has no more than a finger-ring on his hand when he lifts it to 
strike or actually strikes another man, he is guilty of a criminal act 
according to the unwritten words of the law; but he is innocent 
really, and it is equity that declares him to be so. From this 
definition of equity it is plain what sort of actions, and what sort 
of persons, are equitable or the reverse. Equity must be applied to 
forgivable actions; and it must make us distinguish between criminal 
acts on the one hand, and errors of judgement, or misfortunes, on 
the other. (A 'misfortune' is an act, not due to moral badness, that 
has unexpected results: an 'error of judgement' is an act, also not 
due to moral badness, that has results that might have been 
expected: a 'criminal act' has results that might have been 
expected, but is due to moral badness, for that is the source of all 
actions inspired by our appetites.) Equity bids us be merciful to 
the weakness of human nature; to think less about the laws than 
about the man who framed them, and less about what he said than 
about what he meant; not to consider the actions of the accused so 
much as his intentions, nor this or that detail so much as the whole 
story; to ask not what a man is now but what he has always or 
usually been. It bids us remember benefits rather than injuries, and 
benefits received rather than benefits conferred; to be patient when 
we are wronged; to settle a dispute by negotiation and not by force; 
to prefer arbitration to motion-for an arbitrator goes by the equity 
of a case, a judge by the strict law, and arbitration was invented 
with the express purpose of securing full power for equity. 

The above may be taken as a sufficient account of the nature of 
equity . 

14 
The worse of two acts of wrong done to others is that which is 
prompted by the worse disposition. Hence the most trifling acts may be 
the worst ones; as when Callistratus charged Melanopus with having 
cheated the temple-builders of three consecrated half-obols. The 
converse is true of just acts. This is because the greater is here 
potentially contained in the less: there is no crime that a man who 
has stolen three consecrated half-obols would shrink from 
committing. Sometimes, however, the worse act is reckoned not in 
this way but by the greater harm that it does. Or it may be because no 
punishment for it is severe enough to be adequate; or the harm done 
may be incurable-a difficult and even hopeless crime to defend; or the 
sufferer may not be able to get his injurer legally punished, a fact 
that makes the harm incurable, since legal punishment and chastisement 
are the proper cure. Or again, the man who has suffered wrong may have 
inflicted some fearful punishment on himself; then the doer of the 
wrong ought in justice to receive a still more fearful punishment. 
Thus Sophocles, when pleading for retribution to Euctemon, who had cut 
his own throat because of the outrage done to him, said he would not 
fix a penalty less than the victim had fixed for himself. Again, a 
man's crime is worse if he has been the first man, or the only man, or 
almost the only man, to commit it: or if it is by no means the first 
time he has gone seriously wrong in the same way: or if his crime 
has led to the thinking-out and invention of measures to prevent and 
punish similar crimes-thus in Argos a penalty is inflicted on a man on 
whose account a law is passed, and also on those on whose account 
the prison was built: or if a crime is specially brutal, or 
specially deliberate: or if the report of it awakes more terror than 
pity. There are also such rhetorically effective ways of putting it as 
the following: That the accused has disregarded and broken not one but 
many solemn obligations like oaths, promises, pledges, or rights of 
intermarriage between states-here the crime is worse because it 
consists of many crimes; and that the crime was committed in the 



very place where criminals are punished, as for example perjurers 
do-it is argued that a man who will commit a crime in a law-court 
would commit it anywhere. Further, the worse deed is that which 
involves the doer in special shame; that whereby a man wrongs his 
benef actors-f or he does more than one wrong, by not merely doing 
them harm but failing to do them good; that which breaks the unwritten 
laws of justice-the better sort of man will be just without being 
forced to be so, and the written laws depend on force while the 
unwritten ones do not. It may however be argued otherwise, that the 
crime is worse which breaks the written laws: for the man who 
commits crimes for which terrible penalties are provided will not 
hesitate over crimes for which no penalty is provided at all. -So much, 
then, for the comparative badness of criminal actions. 

15 

There are also the so-called 'non-technical' means of persuasion; 
and we must now take a cursory view of these, since they are specially 
characteristic of forensic oratory. They are five in number: laws, 
witnesses, contracts, tortures, oaths. 

First, then, let us take laws and see how they are to be used in 
persuasion and dissuasion, in accusation and defence. If the written 
law tells against our case, clearly we must appeal to the universal 
law, and insist on its greater equity and justice. We must argue 
that the juror's oath 'I will give my verdict according to honest 
opinion' means that one will not simply follow the letter of the 
written law. We must urge that the principles of equity are 
permanent and changeless, and that the universal law does not change 
either, for it is the law of nature, whereas written laws often do 
change. This is the bearing the lines in Sophocles' Antigone, where 
Antigone pleads that in burying her brother she had broken Creon's 
law, but not the unwritten law: 

Not of to-day or yesterday they are, 
But live eternal: (none can date their birth.) 
Not I would fear the wrath of any man 
(And brave God's vengeance) for defying these. 

We shall argue that justice indeed is true and profitable, but 
that sham justice is not, and that consequently the written law is 
not, because it does not fulfil the true purpose of law. Or that 
justice is like silver, and must be assayed by the judges, if the 
genuine is to be distinguished from the counterfeit. Or that the 
better a man is, the more he will follow and abide by the unwritten 
law in preference to the written. Or perhaps that the law in 
question contradicts some other highly-esteemed law, or even 
contradicts itself. Thus it may be that one law will enact that all 
contracts must be held binding, while another forbids us ever to 
make illegal contracts. Or if a law is ambiguous, we shall turn it 
about and consider which construction best fits the interests of 
justice or utility, and then follow that way of looking at it. Or 
if, though the law still exists, the situation to meet which it was 
passed exists no longer, we must do our best to prove this and to 
combat the law thereby. If however the written law supports our 
case, we must urge that the oath 'to give my verdict according to my 
honest opinion' not meant to make the judges give a verdict that is 
contrary to the law, but to save them from the guilt of perjury if 
they misunderstand what the law really means. Or that no one chooses 
what is absolutely good, but every one what is good for himself. Or 
that not to use the laws is as ahas to have no laws at all. Or that, 
as in the other arts, it does not pay to try to be cleverer than the 
doctor: for less harm comes from the doctor's mistakes than from the 
growing habit of disobeying authority. Or that trying to be cleverer 
than the laws is just what is forbidden by those codes of law that are 
accounted best. -So far as the laws are concerned, the above discussion 



is probably sufficient. 

As to witnesses, they are of two kinds, the ancient and the 
recent; and these latter, again, either do or do not share in the 
risks of the trial. By 'ancient' witnesses I mean the poets and all 
other notable persons whose judgements are known to all. Thus the 
Athenians appealed to Homer as a witness about Salamis; and the men of 
Tenedos not long ago appealed to Periander of Corinth in their dispute 
with the people of Sigeum; and Cleophon supported his accusation of 
Critias by quoting the elegiac verse of Solon, maintaining that 
discipline had long been slack in the family of Critias, or Solon 
would never have written, 

Pray thee, bid the red-haired Critias do what 
his father commands him. 

These witnesses are concerned with past events. As to future 
events we shall also appeal to soothsayers: thus Themistocles quoted 
the oracle about 'the wooden wall' as a reason for engaging the 
enemy's fleet. Further, proverbs are, as has been said, one form of 
evidence. Thus if you are urging somebody not to make a friend of an 
old man, you will appeal to the proverb, 

Never show an old man kindness. 

Or if you are urging that he who has made away with fathers should 
also make away with their sons, quote, 

Fool, who slayeth the father and leaveth his sons to avenge him. 

'Recent' witnesses are well-known people who have expressed their 
opinions about some disputed matter: such opinions will be useful 
support for subsequent disputants on the same oints : thus Eubulus used 
in the law-courts against the reply Plato had made to Archibius, 'It 
has become the regular custom in this country to admit that one is a 
scoundrel' . There are also those witnesses who share the risk of 
punishment if their evidence is pronounced false. These are valid 
witnesses to the fact that an action was or was not done, that 
something is or is not the case; they are not valid witnesses to the 
quality of an action, to its being just or unjust, useful or 
harmful. On such questions of quality the opinion of detached 
persons is highly trustworthy. Most trustworthy of all are the 
'ancient' witnesses, since they cannot be corrupted. 

In dealing with the evidence of witnesses, the following are 
useful arguments. If you have no witnesses on your side, you will 
argue that the judges must decide from what is probable; that this 
is meant by 'giving a verdict in accordance with one's honest 
opinion'; that probabilities cannot be bribed to mislead the court; 
and that probabilities are never convicted of perjury. If you have 
witnesses, and the other man has not, you will argue that 
probabilities cannot be put on their trial, and that we could do 
without the evidence of witnesses altogether if we need do no more 
than balance the pleas advanced on either side. 

The evidence of witnesses may refer either to ourselves or to our 
opponent; and either to questions of fact or to questions of 
personal character: so, clearly, we need never be at a loss for useful 
evidence. For if we have no evidence of fact supporting our own case 
or telling against that of our opponent, at least we can always find 
evidence to prove our own worth or our opponent's worthlessness . Other 
arguments about a witness-that he is a friend or an enemy or 
neutral, or has a good, bad, or indifferent reputation, and any 
other such distinctions-we must construct upon the same general 
lines as we use for the regular rhetorical proofs. 

Concerning contracts argument can be so far employed as to 
increase or diminish their importance and their credibility; we 



shall try to increase both if they tell in our favour, and to diminish 
both if they tell in favour of our opponent. Now for confirming or 
upsetting the credibility of contracts the procedure is just the 
same as for dealing with witnesses, for the credit to be attached to 
contracts depends upon the character of those who have signed them 
or have the custody of them. The contract being once admitted genuine, 
we must insist on its importance, if it supports our case. We may 
argue that a contract is a law, though of a special and limited 
kind; and that, while contracts do not of course make the law binding, 
the law does make any lawful contract binding, and that the law itself 
as a whole is a of contract, so that any one who disregards or 
repudiates any contract is repudiating the law itself. Further, most 
business relations-those, namely, that are voluntary-are regulated 
by contracts, and if these lose their binding force, human intercourse 
ceases to exist. We need not go very deep to discover the other 
appropriate arguments of this kind. If, however, the contract tells 
against us and for our opponents, in the first place those arguments 
are suitable which we can use to fight a law that tells against us. We 
do not regard ourselves as bound to observe a bad law which it was a 
mistake ever to pass: and it is ridiculous to suppose that we are 
bound to observe a bad and mistaken contract. Again, we may argue that 
the duty of the judge as umpire is to decide what is just, and 
therefore he must ask where justice lies, and not what this or that 
document means. And that it is impossible to pervert justice by 
fraud or by force, since it is founded on nature, but a party to a 
contract may be the victim of either fraud or force. Moreover, we must 
see if the contract contravenes either universal law or any written 
law of our own or another country; and also if it contradicts any 
other previous or subsequent contract; arguing that the subsequent 
is the binding contract, or else that the previous one was right and 
the subsequent one f raudulent-whichever way suits us. Further, we must 
consider the question of utility, noting whether the contract is 
against the interest of the judges or not; and so on-these arguments 
are as obvious as the others . 

Examination by torture is one form of evidence, to which great 
weight is often attached because it is in a sense compulsory. Here 
again it is not hard to point out the available grounds for magnifying 
its value, if it happens to tell in our favour, and arguing that it is 
the only form of evidence that is infallible; or, on the other hand, 
for refuting it if it tells against us and for our opponent, when we 
may say what is true of torture of every kind alike, that people under 
its compulsion tell lies quite as often as they tell the truth, 
sometimes persistently refusing to tell the truth, sometimes 
recklessly making a false charge in order to be let off sooner. We 
ought to be able to quote cases, familiar to the judges, in which this 
sort of thing has actually happened. [We must say that evidence 
under torture is not trustworthy, the fact being that many men whether 
thick-witted, tough-skinned, or stout of heart endure their ordeal 
nobly, while cowards and timid men are full of boldness till they 
see the ordeal of these others: so that no trust can be placed in 
evidence under torture.] 

In regard to oaths, a fourfold division can be made. A man may 
either both offer and accept an oath, or neither, or one without the 
other-that is, he may offer an oath but not accept one, or accept an 
oath but not offer one. There is also the situation that arises when 
an oath has already been sworn either by himself or by his opponent. 

If you refuse to offer an oath, you may argue that men do not 
hesitate to perjure themselves; and that if your opponent does 
swear, you lose your money, whereas, if he does not, you think the 
judges will decide against him; and that the risk of an unfavourable 
verdict is prefer, able, since you trust the judges and do not trust 
him . 

If you refuse to accept an oath, you may argue that an oath is 
always paid for; that you would of course have taken it if you had 



been a rascal, since if you are a rascal you had better make something 
by it, and you would in that case have to swear in order to succeed. 
Thus your refusal, you argue, must be due to high principle, not to 
fear of perjury: and you may aptly quote the saying of Xenophanes, 

"Tis not fair that he who fears not God 
should challenge him who doth. 

It is as if a strong man were to challenge a weakling to strike, or be 
struck by, him. 

If you agree to accept an oath, you may argue that you trust 
yourself but not your opponent; and that (to invert the remark of 
Xenophanes) the fair thing is for the impious man to offer the oath 
and for the pious man to accept it; and that it would be monstrous 
if you yourself were unwilling to accept an oath in a case where you 
demand that the judges should do so before giving their verdict. If 
you wish to offer an oath, you may argue that piety disposes you to 
commit the issue to the gods; and that your opponent ought not to want 
other judges than himself, since you leave the decision with him; 
and that it is outrageous for your opponents to refuse to swear 
about this question, when they insist that others should do so. 

Now that we see how we are to argue in each case separately, we 
see also how we are to argue when they occur in pairs, namely, when 
you are willing to accept the oath but not to offer it; to offer it 
but not to accept it; both to accept and to offer it; or to do 
neither. These are of course combinations of the cases already 
mentioned, and so your arguments also must be combinations of the 
arguments already mentioned. 

If you have already sworn an oath that contradicts your present one, 
you must argue that it is not perjury, since perjury is a crime, and a 
crime must be a voluntary action, whereas actions due to the force 
or fraud of others are involuntary. You must further reason from 
this that perjury depends on the intention and not on the spoken 
words. But if it is your opponent who has already sworn an oath that 
contradicts his present one, you must say that if he does not abide by 
his oaths he is the enemy of society, and that this is the reason 
why men take an oath before administering the laws. 'My opponents 
insist that you, the judges, must abide by the oath you have sworn, 
and yet they are not abiding by their own oaths. ' And there are 
other arguments which may be used to magnify the importance of the 
oath. [So much, then, for the 'non-technical' modes of persuasion.] 



Book II 

1 

WE have now considered the materials to be used in supporting or 
opposing a political measure, in pronouncing eulogies or censures, and 
for prosecution and defence in the law courts. We have considered 
the received opinions on which we may best base our arguments so as to 
convince our hearers-those opinions with which our enthymemes deal, 
and out of which they are built, in each of the three kinds of 
oratory, according to what may be called the special needs of each. 

But since rhetoric exists to affect the giving of decisions-the 
hearers decide between one political speaker and another, and a 
legal verdict is a decision-the orator must not only try to make the 
argument of his speech demonstrative and worthy of belief; he must 
also make his own character look right and put his hearers, who are to 
decide, into the right frame of mind. Particularly in political 
oratory, but also in lawsuits, it adds much to an orator's influence 
that his own character should look right and that he should be thought 
to entertain the right feelings towards his hearers; and also that his 
hearers themselves should be in just the right frame of mind. That the 
orator's own character should look right is particularly important 



in political speaking: that the audience should be in the right 
frame of mind, in lawsuits. When people are feeling friendly and 
placable, they think one sort of thing; when they are feeling angry or 
hostile, they think either something totally different or the same 
thing with a different intensity: when they feel friendly to the man 
who comes before them for judgement, they regard him as having done 
little wrong, if any; when they feel hostile, they take the opposite 
view. Again, if they are eager for, and have good hopes of, a thing 
that will be pleasant if it happens, they think that it certainly will 
happen and be good for them: whereas if they are indifferent or 
annoyed, they do not think so. 

There are three things which inspire confidence in the orator's 
own character-the three, namely, that induce us to believe a thing 
apart from any proof of it: good sense, good moral character, and 
goodwill. False statements and bad advice are due to one or more of 
the following three causes. Men either form a false opinion through 
want of good sense; or they form a true opinion, but because of 
their moral badness do not say what they really think; or finally, 
they are both sensible and upright, but not well disposed to their 
hearers, and may fail in consequence to recommend what they know to be 
the best course. These are the only possible cases. It follows that 
any one who is thought to have all three of these good qualities 
will inspire trust in his audience. The way to make ourselves 
thought to be sensible and morally good must be gathered from the 
analysis of goodness already given: the way to establish your own 
goodness is the same as the way to establish that of others. Good will 
and friendliness of disposition will form part of our discussion of 
the emotions, to which we must now turn. 

The Emotions are all those feelings that so change men as to 
affect their judgements, and that are also attended by pain or 
pleasure. Such are anger, pity, fear and the like, with their 
opposites. We must arrange what we have to say about each of them 
under three heads. Take, for instance, the emotion of anger: here we 
must discover (1) what the state of mind of angry people is, (2) who 
the people are with whom they usually get angry, and (3) on what 
grounds they get angry with them. It is not enough to know one or even 
two of these points; unless we know all three, we shall be unable to 
arouse anger in any one. The same is true of the other emotions. So 
just as earlier in this work we drew up a list of useful 
propositions for the orator, let us now proceed in the same way to 
analyse the subject before us. 



Anger may be defined as an impulse, accompanied by pain, to a 
conspicuous revenge for a conspicuous slight directed without 
justification towards what concerns oneself or towards what concerns 
one's friends. If this is a proper definition of anger, it must always 
be felt towards some particular individual, e.g. Cleon, and not 
'man' in general. It must be felt because the other has done or 
intended to do something to him or one of his friends. It must 
always be attended by a certain pleasure-that which arises from the 
expectation of revenge. For since nobody aims at what he thinks he 
cannot attain, the angry man is aiming at what he can attain, and 
the belief that you will attain your aim is pleasant. Hence it has 
been well said about wrath, 

Sweeter it is by far than the honeycomb 

dripping with sweetness, 
And spreads through the hearts of men. 

It is also attended by a certain pleasure because the thoughts dwell 
upon the act of vengeance, and the images then called up cause 
pleasure, like the images called up in dreams. 



Now slighting is the actively entertained opinion of something as 
obviously of no importance. We think bad things, as well as good ones, 
have serious importance; and we think the same of anything that 
tends to produce such things, while those which have little or no such 
tendency we consider unimportant. There are three kinds of 
slighting-contempt, spite, and insolence. (1) Contempt is one kind 
of slighting: you feel contempt for what you consider unimportant, and 
it is just such things that you slight. (2) Spite is another kind; 
it is a thwarting another man's wishes, not to get something 
yourself but to prevent his getting it. The slight arises just from 
the fact that you do not aim at something for yourself: clearly you do 
not think that he can do you harm, for then you would be afraid of him 
instead of slighting him, nor yet that he can do you any good worth 
mentioning, for then you would be anxious to make friends with him. 
(3) Insolence is also a form of slighting, since it consists in 
doing and saying things that cause shame to the victim, not in order 
that anything may happen to yourself, or because anything has happened 
to yourself, but simply for the pleasure involved. (Retaliation is not 
'insolence', but vengeance.) The cause of the pleasure thus enjoyed by 
the insolent man is that he thinks himself greatly superior to 
others when ill-treating them. That is why youths and rich men are 
insolent; they think themselves superior when they show insolence. One 
sort of insolence is to rob people of the honour due to them; you 
certainly slight them thus; for it is the unimportant, for good or 
evil, that has no honour paid to it. So Achilles says in anger: 

He hath taken my prize for himself 
and hath done me dishonour, 



and 



Like an alien honoured by none, 



meaning that this is why he is angry. A man expects to be specially 
respected by his inferiors in birth, in capacity, in goodness, and 
generally in anything in which he is much their superior: as where 
money is concerned a wealthy man looks for respect from a poor man; 
where speaking is concerned, the man with a turn for oratory looks for 
respect from one who cannot speak; the ruler demands the respect of 
the ruled, and the man who thinks he ought to be a ruler demands the 
respect of the man whom he thinks he ought to be ruling. Hence it 
has been said 



and 



Great is the wrath of kings, whose father is Zeus almighty, 



Yea, but his rancour abideth long afterward also, 



their great resentment being due to their great superiority. Then 
again a man looks for respect from those who he thinks owe him good 
treatment, and these are the people whom he has treated or is treating 
well, or means or has meant to treat well, either himself, or 
through his friends, or through others at his request. 

It will be plain by now, from what has been said, (1) in what 
frame of mind, (2) with what persons, and (3) on what grounds people 
grow angry. (1) The frame of mind is that of one in which any pain 
is being felt. In that condition, a man is always aiming at something. 
Whether, then, another man opposes him either directly in any way, 
as by preventing him from drinking when he is thirsty, or 
indirectly, the act appears to him just the same; whether some one 
works against him, or fails to work with him, or otherwise vexes him 
while he is in this mood, he is equally angry in all these cases. 
Hence people who are afflicted by sickness or poverty or love or 



thirst or any other unsatisfied desires are prone to anger and 
easily roused: especially against those who slight their present 
distress. Thus a sick man is angered by disregard of his illness, a 
poor man by disregard of his poverty, a man aging war by disregard 
of the war he is waging, a lover by disregard of his love, and so 
throughout, any other sort of slight being enough if special slights 
are wanting. Each man is predisposed, by the emotion now controlling 
him, to his own particular anger. Further, we are angered if we happen 
to be expecting a contrary result: for a quite unexpected evil is 
specially painful, just as the quite unexpected fulfilment of our 
wishes is specially pleasant. Hence it is plain what seasons, times, 
conditions, and periods of life tend to stir men easily to anger, 
and where and when this will happen; and it is plain that the more 
we are under these conditions the more easily we are stirred. 
These, then, are the frames of mind in which men are easily 
stirred to anger. The persons with whom we get angry are those who 
laugh, mock, or jeer at us, for such conduct is insolent. Also those 
who inflict injuries upon us that are marks of insolence. These 
injuries must be such as are neither retaliatory nor profitable to the 
doers: for only then will they be felt to be due to insolence. Also 
those who speak ill of us, and show contempt for us, in connexion with 
the things we ourselves most care about: thus those who are eager to 
win fame as philosophers get angry with those who show contempt for 
their philosophy; those who pride themselves upon their appearance get 
angry with those who show contempt for their appearance and so on in 
other cases. We feel particularly angry on this account if we 
suspect that we are in fact, or that people think we are, lacking 
completely or to any effective extent in the qualities in question. 
For when we are convinced that we excel in the qualities for which 
we are jeered at, we can ignore the jeering. Again, we are angrier 
with our friends than with other people, since we feel that our 
friends ought to treat us well and not badly. We are angry with 
those who have usually treated us with honour or regard, if a change 
comes and they behave to us otherwise: for we think that they feel 
contempt for us, or they would still be behaving as they did before. 
And with those who do not return our kindnesses or fail to return them 
adequately, and with those who oppose us though they are our 
inferiors: for all such persons seem to feel contempt for us; those 
who oppose us seem to think us inferior to themselves, and those who 
do not return our kindnesses seem to think that those kindnesses 
were conferred by inferiors. And we feel particularly angry with men 
of no account at all, if they slight us. For, by our hypothesis, the 
anger caused by the slight is felt towards people who are not 
justified in slighting us, and our inferiors are not thus justified. 
Again, we feel angry with friends if they do not speak well of us or 
treat us well; and still more, if they do the contrary; or if they 
do not perceive our needs, which is why Plexippus is angry with 
Meleager in Antiphon's play; for this want of perception shows that 
they are slighting us-we do not fail to perceive the needs of those 
for whom we care. Again we are angry with those who rejoice at our 
misfortunes or simply keep cheerful in the midst of our misfortunes, 
since this shows that they either hate us or are slighting us. Also 
with those who are indifferent to the pain they give us: this is why 
we get angry with bringers of bad news. And with those who listen to 
stories about us or keep on looking at our weaknesses; this seems like 
either slighting us or hating us; for those who love us share in all 
our distresses and it must distress any one to keep on looking at 
his own weaknesses. Further, with those who slight us before five 
classes of people: namely, (1) our rivals, (2) those whom we admire, 
(3) those whom we wish to admire us, (4) those for whom we feel 
reverence, (5) those who feel reverence for us: if any one slights 
us before such persons, we feel particularly angry. Again, we feel 
angry with those who slight us in connexion with what we are as 
honourable men bound to champion-our parents, children, wives, or 



subjects. And with those who do not return a favour, since such a 
slight is unjustifiable. Also with those who reply with humorous 
levity when we are speaking seriously, for such behaviour indicates 
contempt. And with those who treat us less well than they treat 
everybody else; it is another mark of contempt that they should 
think we do not deserve what every one else deserves. Forgetfulness, 
too, causes anger, as when our own names are forgotten, trifling as 
this may be; since forgetfulness is felt to be another sign that we 
are being slighted; it is due to negligence, and to neglect us is to 
slight us . 

The persons with whom we feel anger, the frame of mind in which we 
feel it, and the reasons why we feel it, have now all been set 
forth. Clearly the orator will have to speak so as to bring his 
hearers into a frame of mind that will dispose them to anger, and to 
represent his adversaries as open to such charges and possessed of 
such qualities as do make people angry. 



Since growing calm is the opposite of growing angry, and calmness 
the opposite of anger, we must ascertain in what frames of mind men 
are calm, towards whom they feel calm, and by what means they are made 
so. Growing calm may be defined as a settling down or quieting of 
anger. Now we get angry with those who slight us; and since 
slighting is a voluntary act, it is plain that we feel calm towards 
those who do nothing of the kind, or who do or seem to do it 
involuntarily. Also towards those who intended to do the opposite of 
what they did do. Also towards those who treat themselves as they have 
treated us: since no one can be supposed to slight himself. Also 
towards those who admit their fault and are sorry: since we accept 
their grief at what they have done as satisfaction, and cease to be 
angry. The punishment of servants shows this: those who contradict 
us and deny their offence we punish all the more, but we cease to be 
incensed against those who agree that they deserved their 
punishment. The reason is that it is shameless to deny what is 
obvious, and those who are shameless towards us slight us and show 
contempt for us: anyhow, we do not feel shame before those of whom 
we are thoroughly contemptuous. Also we feel calm towards those who 
humble themselves before us and do not gainsay us; we feel that they 
thus admit themselves our inferiors, and inferiors feel fear, and 
nobody can slight any one so long as he feels afraid of him. That 
our anger ceases towards those who humble themselves before us is 
shown even by dogs, who do not bite people when they sit down. We also 
feel calm towards those who are serious when we are serious, because 
then we feel that we are treated seriously and not contemptuously. 
Also towards those who have done us more kindnesses than we have 
done them. Also towards those who pray to us and beg for mercy, 
since they humble themselves by doing so. Also towards those who do 
not insult or mock at or slight any one at all, or not any worthy 
person or any one like ourselves. In general, the things that make 
us calm may be inferred by seeing what the opposites are of those that 
make us angry. We are not angry with people we fear or respect, as 
long as we fear or respect them; you cannot be afraid of a person 
and also at the same time angry with him. Again, we feel no anger, 
or comparatively little, with those who have done what they did 
through anger: we do not feel that they have done it from a wish to 
slight us, for no one slights people when angry with them, since 
slighting is painless, and anger is painful. Nor do we grow angry with 
those who reverence us . 

As to the frame of mind that makes people calm, it is plainly the 
opposite to that which makes them angry, as when they are amusing 
themselves or laughing or feasting; when they are feeling prosperous 
or successful or satisfied; when, in fine, they are enjoying freedom 
from pain, or inoffensive pleasure, or justifiable hope. Also when 



time has passed and their anger is no longer fresh, for time puts an 
end to anger. And vengeance previously taken on one person puts an end 
to even greater anger felt against another person. Hence 
Philocrates, being asked by some one, at a time when the public was 
angry with him, 'Why don't you defend yourself?' did right to reply, 
'The time is not yet. ' 'Why, when is the time?' 'When I see someone 
else calumniated. ' For men become calm when they have spent their 
anger on somebody else. This happened in the case of Ergophilus: 
though the people were more irritated against him than against 
Callisthenes, they acquitted him because they had condemned 
Callisthenes to death the day before. Again, men become calm if they 
have convicted the offender; or if he has already suffered worse 
things than they in their anger would have themselves inflicted upon 
him; for they feel as if they were already avenged. Or if they feel 
that they themselves are in the wrong and are suffering justly (for 
anger is not excited by what is just), since men no longer think 
then that they are suffering without justification; and anger, as we 
have seen, means this. Hence we ought always to inflict a 
preliminary punishment in words: if that is done, even slaves are less 
aggrieved by the actual punishment. We also feel calm if we think that 
the offender will not see that he is punished on our account and 
because of the way he has treated us. For anger has to do with 
individuals. This is plain from the definition. Hence the poet has 
well written: 

Say that it was Odysseus, sacker of cities, 

implying that Odysseus would not have considered himself avenged 
unless the Cyclops perceived both by whom and for what he had been 
blinded. Consequently we do not get angry with any one who cannot be 
aware of our anger, and in particular we cease to be angry with people 
once they are dead, for we feel that the worst has been done to 
them, and that they will neither feel pain nor anything else that we 
in our anger aim at making them feel. And therefore the poet has 
well made Apollo say, in order to put a stop to the anger of 
Achilles against the dead Hector, 

For behold in his fury he doeth despite to the senseless clay. 

It is now plain that when you wish to calm others you must draw upon 
these lines of argument; you must put your hearers into the 
corresponding frame of mind, and represent those with whom they are 
angry as formidable, or as worthy of reverence, or as benefactors, 
or as involuntary agents, or as much distressed at what they have 
done . 



Let us now turn to Friendship and Enmity, and ask towards whom these 
feelings are entertained, and why. We will begin by defining and 
friendly feeling. We may describe friendly feeling towards any one 
as wishing for him what you believe to be good things, not for your 
own sake but for his, and being inclined, so far as you can, to 
bring these things about. A friend is one who feels thus and excites 
these feelings in return: those who think they feel thus towards 
each other think themselves friends. This being assumed, it follows 
that your friend is the sort of man who shares your pleasure in what 
is good and your pain in what is unpleasant, for your sake and for 
no other reason. This pleasure and pain of his will be the token of 
his good wishes for you, since we all feel glad at getting what we 
wish for, and pained at getting what we do not. Those, then, are 
friends to whom the same things are good and evil; and those who 
are, moreover, friendly or unfriendly to the same people; for in 
that case they must have the same wishes, and thus by wishing for each 



other what they wish for themselves, they show themselves each other's 
friends. Again, we feel friendly to those who have treated us well, 
either ourselves or those we care for, whether on a large scale, or 
readily, or at some particular crisis; provided it was for our own 
sake. And also to those who we think wish to treat us well. And also 
to our friends' friends, and to those who like, or are liked by, those 
whom we like ourselves. And also to those who are enemies to those 
whose enemies we are, and dislike, or are disliked by, those whom we 
dislike. For all such persons think the things good which we think 
good, so that they wish what is good for us; and this, as we saw, is 
what friends must do. And also to those who are willing to treat us 
well where money or our personal safety is concerned: and therefore we 
value those who are liberal, brave, or just. The just we consider to 
be those who do not live on others; which means those who work for 
their living, especially farmers and others who work with their own 
hands. We also like temperate men, because they are not unjust to 
others; and, for the same reason, those who mind their own business. 
And also those whose friends we wish to be, if it is plain that they 
wish to be our friends: such are the morally good, and those well 
thought of by every one, by the best men, or by those whom we admire 
or who admire us. And also those with whom it is pleasant to live 
and spend our days : such are the good-tempered, and those who are 
not too ready to show us our mistakes, and those who are not 
cantankerous or quarrelsome-such people are always wanting to fight 
us, and those who fight us we feel wish for the opposite of what we 
wish for ourselves-and those who have the tact to make and take a 
joke; here both parties have the same object in view, when they can 
stand being made fun of as well as do it prettily themselves. And we 
also feel friendly towards those who praise such good qualities as 
we possess, and especially if they praise the good qualities that we 
are not too sure we do possess. And towards those who are cleanly in 
their person, their dress, and all their way of life. And towards 
those who do not reproach us with what we have done amiss to them or 
they have done to help us, for both actions show a tendency to 
criticize us. And towards those who do not nurse grudges or store up 
grievances, but are always ready to make friends again; for we take it 
that they will behave to us just as we find them behaving to every one 
else. And towards those who are not evil speakers and who are aware of 
neither their neighbours' bad points nor our own, but of our good ones 
only, as a good man always will be. And towards those who do not try 
to thwart us when we are angry or in earnest, which would mean being 
ready to fight us. And towards those who have some serious feeling 
towards us, such as admiration for us, or belief in our goodness, or 
pleasure in our company; especially if they feel like this about 
qualities in us for which we especially wish to be admired, 
esteemed, or liked. And towards those who are like ourselves in 
character and occupation, provided they do not get in our way or 
gain their living from the same source as we do-for then it will be 
a case of 'potter against potter': 

Potter to potter and builder to builder begrudge their reward. 

And those who desire the same things as we desire, if it is possible 
for us both to share them together; otherwise the same trouble 
arises here too. And towards those with whom we are on such terms 
that, while we respect their opinions, we need not blush before them 
for doing what is conventionally wrong: as well as towards those 
before whom we should be ashamed to do anything really wrong. Again, 
our rivals, and those whom we should like to envy us--though without 
ill-f eeling--either we like these people or at least we wish them to 
like us. And we feel friendly towards those whom we help to secure 
good for themselves, provided we are not likely to suffer heavily by 
it ourselves . And those who feel as friendly to us when we are not 
with them as when we are-which is why all men feel friendly towards 



those who are faithful to their dead friends. And, speaking generally, 
towards those who are really fond of their friends and do not desert 
them in trouble; of all good men, we feel most friendly to those who 
show their goodness as friends. Also towards those who are honest with 
us, including those who will tell us of their own weak points: it 
has just said that with our friends we are not ashamed of what is 
conventionally wrong, and if we do have this feeling, we do not love 
them; if therefore we do not have it, it looks as if we did love them. 
We also like those with whom we do not feel frightened or 
uncomfortable-nobody can like a man of whom he feels frightened. 
Friendship has various forms-comradeship, intimacy, kinship, and so 
on . 

Things that cause friendship are: doing kindnesses; doing them 
unasked; and not proclaiming the fact when they are done, which 
shows that they were done for our own sake and not for some other 
reason . 

Enmity and Hatred should clearly be studied by reference to their 
opposites. Enmity may be produced by anger or spite or calumny. Now 
whereas anger arises from offences against oneself, enmity may arise 
even without that; we may hate people merely because of what we take 
to be their character. Anger is always concerned with individuals-a 
Callias or a Socrates-whereas hatred is directed also against classes: 
we all hate any thief and any informer. Moreover, anger can be cured 
by time; but hatred cannot. The one aims at giving pain to its object, 
the other at doing him harm; the angry man wants his victims to 
feel; the hater does not mind whether they feel or not. All painful 
things are felt; but the greatest evils, injustice and folly, are 
the least felt, since their presence causes no pain. And anger is 
accompanied by pain, hatred is not; the angry man feels pain, but 
the hater does not. Much may happen to make the angry man pity those 
who offend him, but the hater under no circumstances wishes to pity 
a man whom he has once hated: for the one would have the offenders 
suffer for what they have done; the other would have them cease to 
exist . 

It is plain from all this that we can prove people to be friends 
or enemies; if they are not, we can make them out to be so; if they 
claim to be so, we can refute their claim; and if it is disputed 
whether an action was due to anger or to hatred, we can attribute it 
to whichever of these we prefer. 



To turn next to Fear, what follows will show things and persons of 
which, and the states of mind in which, we feel afraid. Fear may be 
defined as a pain or disturbance due to a mental picture of some 
destructive or painful evil in the future. Of destructive or painful 
evils only; for there are some evils, e.g. wickedness or stupidity, 
the prospect of which does not frighten us: I mean only such as amount 
to great pains or losses. And even these only if they appear not 
remote but so near as to be imminent: we do not fear things that are a 
very long way off: for instance, we all know we shall die, but we 
are not troubled thereby, because death is not close at hand. From 
this definition it will follow that fear is caused by whatever we feel 
has great power of destroying or of harming us in ways that tend to 
cause us great pain. Hence the very indications of such things are 
terrible, making us feel that the terrible thing itself is close at 
hand; the approach of what is terrible is just what we mean by 
'danger' . Such indications are the enmity and anger of people who have 
power to do something to us; for it is plain that they have the will 
to do it, and so they are on the point of doing it. Also injustice 
in possession of power; for it is the unjust man's will to do evil 
that makes him unjust. Also outraged virtue in possession of power; 
for it is plain that, when outraged, it always has the will to 
retaliate, and now it has the power to do so. Also fear felt by 



those who have the power to do something to us, since such persons are 
sure to be ready to do it. And since most men tend to be bad-slaves to 
greed, and cowards in danger-it is, as a rule, a terrible thing to 
be at another man's mercy; and therefore, if we have done anything 
horrible, those in the secret terrify us with the thought that they 
may betray or desert us . And those who can do us wrong are terrible to 
us when we are liable to be wronged; for as a rule men do wrong to 
others whenever they have the power to do it. And those who have 
been wronged, or believe themselves to be wronged, are terrible; for 
they are always looking out for their opportunity. Also those who have 
done people wrong, if they possess power, since they stand in fear 
of retaliation: we have already said that wickedness possessing 
power is terrible. Again, our rivals for a thing cause us fear when we 
cannot both have it at once; for we are always at war with such men. 
We also fear those who are to be feared by stronger people than 
ourselves: if they can hurt those stronger people, still more can they 
hurt us; and, for the same reason, we fear those whom those stronger 
people are actually afraid of. Also those who have destroyed people 
stronger than we are. Also those who are attacking people weaker 
than we are: either they are already formidable, or they will be so 
when they have thus grown stronger. Of those we have wronged, and of 
our enemies or rivals, it is not the passionate and outspoken whom 
we have to fear, but the quiet, dissembling, unscrupulous; since we 
never know when they are upon us, we can never be sure they are at a 
safe distance. All terrible things are more terrible if they give us 
no chance of retrieving a blunder either no chance at all, or only one 
that depends on our enemies and not ourselves. Those things are also 
worse which we cannot, or cannot easily, help. Speaking generally, 
anything causes us to feel fear that when it happens to, or threatens, 
others cause us to feel pity. 

The above are, roughly, the chief things that are terrible and are 
feared. Let us now describe the conditions under which we ourselves 
feel fear. If fear is associated with the expectation that something 
destructive will happen to us, plainly nobody will be afraid who 
believes nothing can happen to him; we shall not fear things that we 
believe cannot happen to us, nor people who we believe cannot 
inflict them upon us; nor shall we be afraid at times when we think 
ourselves safe from them. It follows therefore that fear is felt by 
those who believe something to be likely to happen to them, at the 
hands of particular persons, in a particular form, and at a particular 
time. People do not believe this when they are, or think they a are, 
in the midst of great prosperity, and are in consequence insolent, 
contemptuous, and reckless-the kind of character produced by wealth, 
physical strength, abundance of friends, power: nor yet when they feel 
they have experienced every kind of horror already and have grown 
callous about the future, like men who are being flogged and are 
already nearly dead-if they are to feel the anguish of uncertainty, 
there must be some faint expectation of escape. This appears from 
the fact that fear sets us thinking what can be done, which of 
course nobody does when things are hopeless. Consequently, when it 
is advisable that the audience should be frightened, the orator must 
make them feel that they really are in danger of something, pointing 
out that it has happened to others who were stronger than they are, 
and is happening, or has happened, to people like themselves, at the 
hands of unexpected people, in an unexpected form, and at an 
unexpected time. 

Having now seen the nature of fear, and of the things that cause it, 
and the various states of mind in which it is felt, we can also see 
what Confidence is, about what things we feel it, and under what 
conditions. It is the opposite of fear, and what causes it is the 
opposite of what causes fear; it is, therefore, the expectation 
associated with a mental picture of the nearness of what keeps us safe 
and the absence or remoteness of what is terrible: it may be due 
either to the near presence of what inspires confidence or to the 



absence of what causes alarm. We feel it if we can take steps-many, or 
important, or both-to cure or prevent trouble; if we have neither 
wronged others nor been wronged by them; if we have either no rivals 
at all or no strong ones; if our rivals who are strong are our friends 
or have treated us well or been treated well by us; or if those 
whose interest is the same as ours are the more numerous party, or the 
stronger, or both. 

As for our own state of mind, we feel confidence if we believe we 
have often succeeded and never suffered reverses, or have often met 
danger and escaped it safely. For there are two reasons why human 
beings face danger calmly: they may have no experience of it, or 
they may have means to deal with it: thus when in danger at sea people 
may feel confident about what will happen either because they have 
no experience of bad weather, or because their experience gives them 
the means of dealing with it. We also feel confident whenever there is 
nothing to terrify other people like ourselves, or people weaker 
than ourselves, or people than whom we believe ourselves to be 
stronger-and we believe this if we have conquered them, or conquered 
others who are as strong as they are, or stronger. Also if we 
believe ourselves superior to our rivals in the number and 
importance of the advantages that make men formidable-wealth, physical 
strength, strong bodies of supporters, extensive territory, and the 
possession of all, or the most important, appliances of war. Also if 
we have wronged no one, or not many, or not those of whom we are 
afraid; and generally, if our relations with the gods are 
satisfactory, as will be shown especially by signs and oracles. The 
fact is that anger makes us conf ident-that anger is excited by our 
knowledge that we are not the wrongers but the wronged, and that the 
divine power is always supposed to be on the side of the wronged. Also 
when, at the outset of an enterprise, we believe that we cannot and 
shall not fail, or that we shall succeed completely . -So much for the 
causes of fear and confidence. 



We now turn to Shame and Shamelessness ; what follows will explain 
the things that cause these feelings, and the persons before whom, and 
the states of mind under which, they are felt. Shame may be defined as 
pain or disturbance in regard to bad things, whether present, past, or 
future, which seem likely to involve us in discredit; and 
shamelessness as contempt or indifference in regard to these same 
bad things. If this definition be granted, it follows that we feel 
shame at such bad things as we think are disgraceful to ourselves or 
to those we care for. These evils are, in the first place, those due 
to moral badness. Such are throwing away one's shield or taking to 
flight; for these bad things are due to cowardice. Also, withholding a 
deposit or otherwise wronging people about money; for these acts are 
due to injustice. Also, having carnal intercourse with forbidden 
persons, at wrong times, or in wrong places; for these things are 
due to licentiousness. Also, making profit in petty or disgraceful 
ways, or out of helpless persons, e.g. the poor, or the dead-whence 
the proverb 'He would pick a corpse's pocket'; for all this is due 
to low greed and meanness. Also, in money matters, giving less help 
than you might, or none at all, or accepting help from those worse off 
than yourself; so also borrowing when it will seem like begging; 
begging when it will seem like asking the return of a favour; asking 
such a return when it will seem like begging; praising a man in 
order that it may seem like begging; and going on begging in spite 
of failure: all such actions are tokens of meanness. Also, praising 
people to their face, and praising extravagantly a man's good points 
and glozing over his weaknesses, and showing extravagant sympathy with 
his grief when you are in his presence, and all that sort of thing; 
all this shows the disposition of a flatterer. Also, refusing to 
endure hardships that are endured by people who are older, more 



delicately brought up, of higher rank, or generally less capable of 
endurance than ourselves: for all this shows effeminacy. Also, 
accepting benefits, especially accepting them often, from another man, 
and then abusing him for conferring them: all this shows a mean, 
ignoble disposition. Also, talking incessantly about yourself, 
making loud professions, and appropriating the merits of others; for 
this is due to boastfulness . The same is true of the actions due to 
any of the other forms of badness of moral character, of the tokens of 
such badness, &c: they are all disgraceful and shameless. Another 
sort of bad thing at which we feel shame is, lacking a share in the 
honourable things shared by every one else, or by all or nearly all 
who are like ourselves. By 'those like ourselves' I mean those of 
our own race or country or age or family, and generally those who 
are on our own level. Once we are on a level with others, it is a 
disgrace to be, say, less well educated than they are; and so with 
other advantages: all the more so, in each case, if it is seen to be 
our own fault: wherever we are ourselves to blame for our present, 
past, or future circumstances, it follows at once that this is to a 
greater extent due to our moral badness. We are moreover ashamed of 
having done to us, having had done, or being about to have done to 
us acts that involve us in dishonour and reproach; as when we 
surrender our persons, or lend ourselves to vile deeds, e.g. when we 
submit to outrage. And acts of yielding to the lust of others are 
shameful whether willing or unwilling (yielding to force being an 
instance of unwillingness), since unresisting submission to them is 
due to unmanliness or cowardice. 

These things, and others like them, are what cause the feeling of 
shame. Now since shame is a mental picture of disgrace, in which we 
shrink from the disgrace itself and not from its consequences, and 
we only care what opinion is held of us because of the people who form 
that opinion, it follows that the people before whom we feel shame are 
those whose opinion of us matters to us. Such persons are: those who 
admire us, those whom we admire, those by whom we wish to be 
admired, those with whom we are competing, and those whose opinion 
of us we respect. We admire those, and wish those to admire us, who 
possess any good thing that is highly esteemed; or from whom we are 
very anxious to get something that they are able to give us-as a lover 
feels. We compete with our equals. We respect, as true, the views of 
sensible people, such as our elders and those who have been well 
educated. And we feel more shame about a thing if it is done openly, 
before all men's eyes. Hence the proverb, 'shame dwells in the 
eyes' . For this reason we feel most shame before those who will always 
be with us and those who notice what we do, since in both cases eyes 
are upon us. We also feel it before those not open to the same 
imputation as ourselves: for it is plain that their opinions about 
it are the opposite of ours. Also before those who are hard on any one 
whose conduct they think wrong; for what a man does himself, he is 
said not to resent when his neighbours do it: so that of course he 
does resent their doing what he does not do himself. And before 
those who are likely to tell everybody about you; not telling others 
is as good as not be lieving you wrong. People are likely to tell 
others about you if you have wronged them, since they are on the 
look out to harm you; or if they speak evil of everybody, for those 
who attack the innocent will be still more ready to attack the guilty. 
And before those whose main occupation is with their neighbours' 
failings-people like satirists and writers of comedy; these are really 
a kind of evil-speakers and tell-tales. And before those who have 
never yet known us come to grief, since their attitude to us has 
amounted to admiration so far: that is why we feel ashamed to refuse 
those a favour who ask one for the first time-we have not as yet 
lost credit with them. Such are those who are just beginning to wish 
to be our friends; for they have seen our best side only (hence the 
appropriateness of Euripides' reply to the Syracusans) : and such 
also are those among our old acquaintances who know nothing to our 



discredit. And we are ashamed not merely of the actual shameful 
conduct mentioned, but also of the evidences of it: not merely, for 
example, of actual sexual intercourse, but also of its evidences; 
and not merely of disgraceful acts but also of disgraceful talk. 
Similarly we feel shame not merely in presence of the persons 
mentioned but also of those who will tell them what we have done, such 
as their servants or friends. And, generally, we feel no shame 
before those upon whose opinions we quite look down as untrustworthy 
(no one feels shame before small children or animals); nor are we 
ashamed of the same things before intimates as before strangers, but 
before the former of what seem genuine faults, before the latter of 
what seem conventional ones . 

The conditions under which we shall feel shame are these: first, 
having people related to us like those before whom, as has been 
said, we feel shame. These are, as was stated, persons whom we admire, 
or who admire us, or by whom we wish to be admired, or from whom we 
desire some service that we shall not obtain if we forfeit their 
good opinion. These persons may be actually looking on (as Cydias 
represented them in his speech on land assignments in Samos, when he 
told the Athenians to imagine the Greeks to be standing all around 
them, actually seeing the way they voted and not merely going to 
hear about it afterwards) : or again they may be near at hand, or may 
be likely to find out about what we do. This is why in misfortune we 
do not wish to be seen by those who once wished themselves like us; 
for such a feeling implies admiration. And men feel shame when they 
have acts or exploits to their credit on which they are bringing 
dishonour, whether these are their own, or those of their ancestors, 
or those of other persons with whom they have some close connexion. 
Generally, we feel shame before those for whose own misconduct we 
should also feel it-those already mentioned; those who take us as 
their models; those whose teachers or advisers we have been; or 
other people, it may be, like ourselves, whose rivals we are. For 
there are many things that shame before such people makes us do or 
leave undone. And we feel more shame when we are likely to be 
continually seen by, and go about under the eyes of, those who know of 
our disgrace. Hence, when Antiphon the poet was to be cudgelled to 
death by order of Dionysius, and saw those who were to perish with him 
covering their faces as they went through the gates, he said, 'Why 
do you cover your faces? Is it lest some of these spectators should 
see you to-morrow? ' 

So much for Shame; to understand Shamelessness, we need only 
consider the converse cases, and plainly we shall have all we need. 



To take Kindness next: the definition of it will show us towards 
whom it is felt, why, and in what frames of mind. Kindness-under the 
influence of which a man is said to 'be kind' may be defined as 
helpfulness towards some one in need, not in return for anything, 
nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the 
person helped. Kindness is great if shown to one who is in great need, 
or who needs what is important and hard to get, or who needs it at 
an important and difficult crisis; or if the helper is the only, the 
first, or the chief person to give the help. Natural cravings 
constitute such needs; and in particular cravings, accompanied by 
pain, for what is not being attained. The appetites are cravings for 
this kind: sexual desire, for instance, and those which arise during 
bodily injuries and in dangers; for appetite is active both in 
danger and in pain. Hence those who stand by us in poverty or in 
banishment, even if they do not help us much, are yet really kind to 
us, because our need is great and the occasion pressing; for instance, 
the man who gave the mat in the Lyceum. The helpfulness must therefore 
meet, preferably, just this kind of need; and failing just this 
kind, some other kind as great or greater. We now see to whom, why, 



and under what conditions kindness is shown; and these facts must form 
the basis of our arguments. We must show that the persons helped 
are, or have been, in such pain and need as has been described, and 
that their helpers gave, or are giving, the kind of help described, in 
the kind of need described. We can also see how to eliminate the 
idea of kindness and make our opponents appear unkind: we may maintain 
that they are being or have been helpful simply to promote their own 
interest-this, as has been stated, is not kindness; or that their 
action was accidental, or was forced upon them; or that they were 
not doing a favour, but merely returning one, whether they know this 
or not-in either case the action is a mere return, and is therefore 
not a kindness even if the doer does not know how the case stands. 
In considering this subject we must look at all the categories: an act 
may be an act of kindness because (1) it is a particular thing, (2) it 
has a particular magnitude or (3) quality, or (4) is done at a 
particular time or (5) place. As evidence of the want of kindness, 
we may point out that a smaller service had been refused to the man in 
need; or that the same service, or an equal or greater one, has been 
given to his enemies; these facts show that the service in question 
was not done for the sake of the person helped. Or we may point out 
that the thing desired was worthless and that the helper knew it: no 
one will admit that he is in need of what is worthless. 



So much for Kindness and Unkindness. Let us now consider Pity, 
asking ourselves what things excite pity, and for what persons, and in 
what states of our mind pity is felt. Pity may be defined as a feeling 
of pain caused by the sight of some evil, destructive or painful, 
which befalls one who does not deserve it, and which we might expect 
to befall ourselves or some friend of ours, and moreover to befall 
us soon. In order to feel pity, we must obviously be capable of 
supposing that some evil may happen to us or some friend of ours, 
and moreover some such evil as is stated in our definition or is 
more or less of that kind. It is therefore not felt by those 
completely ruined, who suppose that no further evil can befall them, 
since the worst has befallen them already; nor by those who imagine 
themselves immensely f ortunate-their feeling is rather presumptuous 
insolence, for when they think they possess all the good things of 
life, it is clear that the impossibility of evil befalling them will 
be included, this being one of the good things in question. Those 
who think evil may befall them are such as have already had it 
befall them and have safely escaped from it; elderly men, owing to 
their good sense and their experience; weak men, especially men 
inclined to cowardice; and also educated people, since these can 
take long views. Also those who have parents living, or children, or 
wives; for these are our own, and the evils mentioned above may easily 
befall them. And those who neither moved by any courageous emotion 
such as anger or confidence (these emotions take no account of the 
future), nor by a disposition to presumptuous insolence (insolent men, 
too, take no account of the possibility that something evil will 
happen to them) , nor yet by great fear (panic-stricken people do not 
feel pity, because they are taken up with what is happening to 
themselves); only those feel pity who are between these two 
extremes. In order to feel pity we must also believe in the goodness 
of at least some people; if you think nobody good, you will believe 
that everybody deserves evil fortune. And, generally, we feel pity 
whenever we are in the condition of remembering that similar 
misfortunes have happened to us or ours, or expecting them to happen 
in the future. 

So much for the mental conditions under which we feel pity. What 
we pity is stated clearly in the definition. All unpleasant and 
painful things excite pity if they tend to destroy pain and 
annihilate; and all such evils as are due to chance, if they are 



serious. The painful and destructive evils are: death in its various 
forms, bodily injuries and afflictions, old age, diseases, lack of 
food. The evils due to chance are: f riendlessness, scarcity of friends 
(it is a pitiful thing to be torn away from friends and companions), 
deformity, weakness, mutilation; evil coming from a source from 
which good ought to have come; and the frequent repetition of such 
misfortunes. Also the coming of good when the worst has happened: e.g. 
the arrival of the Great King's gifts for Diopeithes after his 
death. Also that either no good should have befallen a man at all, 
or that he should not be able to enjoy it when it has. 

The grounds, then, on which we feel pity are these or like these. 
The people we pity are: those whom we know, if only they are not 
very closely related to us-in that case we feel about them as if we 
were in danger ourselves. For this reason Amasis did not weep, they 
say, at the sight of his son being led to death, but did weep when 
he saw his friend begging: the latter sight was pitiful, the former 
terrible, and the terrible is different from the pitiful; it tends 
to cast out pity, and often helps to produce the opposite of pity. 
Again, we feel pity when the danger is near ourselves. Also we pity 
those who are like us in age, character, disposition, social standing, 
or birth; for in all these cases it appears more likely that the 
same misfortune may befall us also. Here too we have to remember the 
general principle that what we fear for ourselves excites our pity 
when it happens to others. Further, since it is when the sufferings of 
others are close to us that they excite our pity (we cannot remember 
what disasters happened a hundred centuries ago, nor look forward to 
what will happen a hundred centuries hereafter, and therefore feel 
little pity, if any, for such things) : it follows that those who 
heighten the effect of their words with suitable gestures, tones, 
dress, and dramatic action generally, are especially successful in 
exciting pity: they thus put the disasters before our eyes, and make 
them seem close to us, just coming or just past. Anything that has 
just happened, or is going to happen soon, is particularly piteous: so 
too therefore are the tokens and the actions of suf f erers-the garments 
and the like of those who have already suffered; the words and the 
like of those actually suffering-of those, for instance, who are on 
the point of death. Most piteous of all is it when, in such times of 
trial, the victims are persons of noble character: whenever they are 
so, our pity is especially excited, because their innocence, as well 
as the setting of their misfortunes before our eyes, makes their 
misfortunes seem close to ourselves. 



Most directly opposed to pity is the feeling called Indignation. 
Pain at unmerited good fortune is, in one sense, opposite to pain at 
unmerited bad fortune, and is due to the same moral qualities. Both 
feelings are associated with good moral character; it is our duty both 
to feel sympathy and pity for unmerited distress, and to feel 
indignation at unmerited prosperity; for whatever is undeserved is 
unjust, and that is why we ascribe indignation even to the gods. It 
might indeed be thought that envy is similarly opposed to pity, on the 
ground that envy it closely akin to indignation, or even the same 
thing. But it is not the same. It is true that it also is a disturbing 
pain excited by the prosperity of others. But it is excited not by the 
prosperity of the undeserving but by that of people who are like us or 
equal with us. The two feelings have this in common, that they must be 
due not to some untoward thing being likely to befall ourselves, but 
only to what is happening to our neighbour. The feeling ceases to be 
envy in the one case and indignation in the other, and becomes fear, 
if the pain and disturbance are due to the prospect of something bad 
for ourselves as the result of the other man's good fortune. The 
feelings of pity and indignation will obviously be attended by the 
converse feelings of satisfaction. If you are pained by the 



unmerited distress of others, you will be pleased, or at least not 
pained, by their merited distress. Thus no good man can be pained by 
the punishment of parricides or murderers. These are things we are 
bound to rejoice at, as we must at the prosperity of the deserving; 
both these things are just, and both give pleasure to any honest 
man, since he cannot help expecting that what has happened to a man 
like him will happen to him too. All these feelings are associated 
with the same type of moral character. And their contraries are 
associated with the contrary type; the man who is delighted by others' 
misfortunes is identical with the man who envies others' prosperity. 
For any one who is pained by the occurrence or existence of a given 
thing must be pleased by that thing's non-existence or destruction. We 
can now see that all these feelings tend to prevent pity (though 
they differ among themselves, for the reasons given), so that all 
are equally useful for neutralizing an appeal to pity. 

We will first consider Indignation-reserving the other emotions 
for subsequent discussion-and ask with whom, on what grounds, and in 
what states of mind we may be indignant. These questions are really 
answered by what has been said already. Indignation is pain caused 
by the sight of undeserved good fortune. It is, then, plain to begin 
with that there are some forms of good the sight of which cannot cause 
it. Thus a man may be just or brave, or acquire moral goodness: but we 
shall not be indignant with him for that reason, any more than we 
shall pity him for the contrary reason. Indignation is roused by the 
sight of wealth, power, and the like-by all those things, roughly 
speaking, which are deserved by good men and by those who possess 
the goods of nature-noble birth, beauty, and so on. Again, what is 
long established seems akin to what exists by nature; and therefore we 
feel more indignation at those possessing a given good if they have as 
a matter of fact only just got it and the prosperity it brings with 
it. The newly rich give more offence than those whose wealth is of 
long standing and inherited. The same is true of those who have office 
or power, plenty of friends, a fine family, &c. We feel the same 
when these advantages of theirs secure them others. For here again, 
the newly rich give us more offence by obtaining office through 
their riches than do those whose wealth is of long standing; and so in 
all other cases. The reason is that what the latter have is felt to be 
really their own, but what the others have is not; what appears to 
have been always what it is is regarded as real, and so the 
possessions of the newly rich do not seem to be really their own. 
Further, it is not any and every man that deserves any given kind of 
good; there is a certain correspondence and appropriateness in such 
things; thus it is appropriate for brave men, not for just men, to 
have fine weapons, and for men of family, not for parvenus, to make 
distinguished marriages. Indignation may therefore properly be felt 
when any one gets what is not appropriate for him, though he may be 
a good man enough. It may also be felt when any one sets himself up 
against his superior, especially against his superior in some 
particular respect-whence the lines 

Only from battle he shrank with Aias Telamon's son; 
Zeus had been angered with him, 

had he fought with a mightier one; 

but also, even apart from that, when the inferior in any sense 
contends with his superior; a musician, for instance, with a just man, 
for justice is a finer thing than music. 

Enough has been said to make clear the grounds on which, and the 
persons against whom, Indignation is felt-they are those mentioned, 
and others like him. As for the people who feel it; we feel it if we 
do ourselves deserve the greatest possible goods and moreover have 
them, for it is an injustice that those who are not our equals 
should have been held to deserve as much as we have. Or, secondly, 
we feel it if we are really good and honest people; our judgement is 



then sound, and we loathe any kind of injustice. Also if we are 
ambitious and eager to gain particular ends, especially if we are 
ambitious for what others are getting without deserving to get it. 
And, generally, if we think that we ourselves deserve a thing and that 
others do not, we are disposed to be indignant with those others so 
far as that thing is concerned. Hence servile, worthless, 
unambitious persons are not inclined to Indignation, since there is 
nothing they can believe themselves to deserve. 

From all this it is plain what sort of men those are at whose 
misfortunes, distresses, or failures we ought to feel pleased, or at 
least not pained: by considering the facts described we see at once 
what their contraries are. If therefore our speech puts the judges 
in such a frame of mind as that indicated and shows that those who 
claim pity on certain definite grounds do not deserve to secure pity 
but do deserve not to secure it, it will be impossible for the 
judges to feel pity. 

10 

To take Envy next: we can see on what grounds, against what persons, 
and in what states of mind we feel it. Envy is pain at the sight of 
such good fortune as consists of the good things already mentioned; we 
feel it towards our equals; not with the idea of getting something for 
ourselves, but because the other people have it. We shall feel it if 
we have, or think we have, equals; and by 'equals' I mean equals in 
birth, relationship, age, disposition, distinction, or wealth. We feel 
envy also if we fall but a little short of having everything; which is 
why people in high place and prosperity feel it-they think every one 
else is taking what belongs to themselves. Also if we are 
exceptionally distinguished for some particular thing, and 
especially if that thing is wisdom or good fortune. Ambitious men 
are more envious than those who are not. So also those who profess 
wisdom; they are ambitious to be thought wise. Indeed, generally, 
those who aim at a reputation for anything are envious on this 
particular point. And small-minded men are envious, for everything 
seems great to them. The good things which excite envy have already 
been mentioned. The deeds or possessions which arouse the love of 
reputation and honour and the desire for fame, and the various gifts 
of fortune, are almost all subject to envy; and particularly if we 
desire the thing ourselves, or think we are entitled to it, or if 
having it puts us a little above others, or not having it a little 
below them. It is clear also what kind of people we envy; that was 
included in what has been said already: we envy those who are near 
us in time, place, age, or reputation. Hence the line: 

Ay, kin can even be jealous of their kin. 

Also our fellow-competitors, who are indeed the people just 
mentioned-we do not compete with men who lived a hundred centuries 
ago, or those not yet born, or the dead, or those who dwell near the 
Pillars of Hercules, or those whom, in our opinion or that of 
others, we take to be far below us or far above us. So too we 
compete with those who follow the same ends as ourselves: we compete 
with our rivals in sport or in love, and generally with those who 
are after the same things; and it is therefore these whom we are bound 
to envy beyond all others. Hence the saying: 

Potter against potter. 

We also envy those whose possession of or success in a thing is a 
reproach to us: these are our neighbours and equals; for it is clear 
that it is our own fault we have missed the good thing in question; 
this annoys us, and excites envy in us. We also envy those who have 
what we ought to have, or have got what we did have once. Hence old 



men envy younger men, and those who have spent much envy those who 
have spent little on the same thing. And men who have not got a thing, 
or not got it yet, envy those who have got it quickly. We can also see 
what things and what persons give pleasure to envious people, and in 
what states of mind they feel it: the states of mind in which they 
feel pain are those under which they will feel pleasure in the 
contrary things. If therefore we ourselves with whom the decision 
rests are put into an envious state of mind, and those for whom our 
pity, or the award of something desirable, is claimed are such as have 
been described, it is obvious that they will win no pity from us. 

11 

We will next consider Emulation, showing in what follows its 
causes and objects, and the state of mind in which it is felt. 
Emulation is pain caused by seeing the presence, in persons whose 
nature is like our own, of good things that are highly valued and 
are possible for ourselves to acquire; but it is felt not because 
others have these goods, but because we have not got them ourselves. 
It is therefore a good feeling felt by good persons, whereas envy is a 
bad feeling felt by bad persons. Emulation makes us take steps to 
secure the good things in question, envy makes us take steps to stop 
our neighbour having them. Emulation must therefore tend to be felt by 
persons who believe themselves to deserve certain good things that 
they have not got, it being understood that no one aspires to things 
which appear impossible. It is accordingly felt by the young and by 
persons of lofty disposition. Also by those who possess such good 
things as are deserved by men held in honour-these are wealth, 
abundance of friends, public office, and the like; on the assumption 
that they ought to be good men, they are emulous to gain such goods 
because they ought, in their belief, to belong to men whose state of 
mind is good. Also by those whom all others think deserving. We also 
feel it about anything for which our ancestors, relatives, personal 
friends, race, or country are specially honoured, looking upon that 
thing as really our own, and therefore feeling that we deserve to have 
it. Further, since all good things that are highly honoured are 
objects of emulation, moral goodness in its various forms must be such 
an object, and also all those good things that are useful and 
serviceable to others: for men honour those who are morally good, 
and also those who do them service. So with those good things our 
possession of which can give enjoyment to our neighbours-wealth and 
beauty rather than health. We can see, too, what persons are the 
objects of the feeling. They are those who have these and similar 
things-those already mentioned, as courage, wisdom, public office. 
Holders of public office-generals, orators, and all who possess such 
powers-can do many people a good turn. Also those whom many people 
wish to be like; those who have many acquaintances or friends; those 
whom admire, or whom we ourselves admire; and those who have been 
praised and eulogized by poets or prose-writers. Persons of the 
contrary sort are objects of contempt: for the feeling and notion of 
contempt are opposite to those of emulation. Those who are such as 
to emulate or be emulated by others are inevitably disposed to be 
contemptuous of all such persons as are subject to those bad things 
which are contrary to the good things that are the objects of 
emulation: despising them for just that reason. Hence we often despise 
the fortunate, when luck comes to them without their having those good 
things which are held in honour. 

This completes our discussion of the means by which the several 
emotions may be produced or dissipated, and upon which depend the 
persuasive arguments connected with the emotions. 

12 

Let us now consider the various types of human character, in 
relation to the emotions and moral qualities, showing how they 



correspond to our various ages and fortunes. By emotions I mean anger, 
desire, and the like; these we have discussed already. By moral 
qualities I mean virtues and vices; these also have been discussed 
already, as well as the various things that various types of men 
tend to will and to do. By ages I mean youth, the prime of life, and 
old age. By fortune I mean birth, wealth, power, and their 
opposites-in fact, good fortune and ill fortune. 

To begin with the Youthful type of character. Young men have 
strong passions, and tend to gratify them indiscriminately. Of the 
bodily desires, it is the sexual by which they are most swayed and 
in which they show absence of self-control. They are changeable and 
fickle in their desires, which are violent while they last, but 
quickly over: their impulses are keen but not deep-rooted, and are 
like sick people's attacks of hunger and thirst. They are 
hot-tempered, and quick-tempered, and apt to give way to their 
anger; bad temper often gets the better of them, for owing to their 
love of honour they cannot bear being slighted, and are indignant if 
they imagine themselves unfairly treated. While they love honour, they 
love victory still more; for youth is eager for superiority over 
others, and victory is one form of this. They love both more than they 
love money, which indeed they love very little, not having yet 
learnt what it means to be without it-this is the point of Pittacus ' 
remark about Amphiaraus . They look at the good side rather than the 
bad, not having yet witnessed many instances of wickedness. They trust 
others readily, because they have not yet often been cheated. They are 
sanguine; nature warms their blood as though with excess of wine; 
and besides that, they have as yet met with few disappointments. Their 
lives are mainly spent not in memory but in expectation; for 
expectation refers to the future, memory to the past, and youth has 
a long future before it and a short past behind it: on the first day 
of one's life one has nothing at all to remember, and can only look 
forward. They are easily cheated, owing to the sanguine disposition 
just mentioned. Their hot tempers and hopeful dispositions make them 
more courageous than older men are; the hot temper prevents fear, 
and the hopeful disposition creates confidence; we cannot feel fear so 
long as we are feeling angry, and any expectation of good makes us 
confident. They are shy, accepting the rules of society in which 
they have been trained, and not yet believing in any other standard of 
honour. They have exalted notions, because they have not yet been 
humbled by life or learnt its necessary limitations; moreover, their 
hopeful disposition makes them think themselves equal to great 
things-and that means having exalted notions. They would always rather 
do noble deeds than useful ones: their lives are regulated more by 
moral feeling than by reasoning; and whereas reasoning leads us to 
choose what is useful, moral goodness leads us to choose what is 
noble. They are fonder of their friends, intimates, and companions 
than older men are, because they like spending their days in the 
company of others, and have not yet come to value either their friends 
or anything else by their usefulness to themselves. All their mistakes 
are in the direction of doing things excessively and vehemently. 
They disobey Chilon's precept by overdoing everything, they love too 
much and hate too much, and the same thing with everything else. 
They think they know everything, and are always quite sure about it; 
this, in fact, is why they overdo everything. If they do wrong to 
others, it is because they mean to insult them, not to do them 
actual harm. They are ready to pity others, because they think every 
one an honest man, or anyhow better than he is: they judge their 
neighbour by their own harmless natures, and so cannot think he 
deserves to be treated in that way. They are fond of fun and therefore 
witty, wit being well-bred insolence. 

13 

Such, then is the character of the Young. The character of Elderly 



Men-men who are past their prime-may be said to be formed for the most 
part of elements that are the contrary of all these. They have lived 
many years; they have often been taken in, and often made mistakes; 
and life on the whole is a bad business. The result is that they are 
sure about nothing and under-do everything. They 'think', but they 
never 'know'; and because of their hesitation they always add a 
'possibly' or a 'perhaps', putting everything this way and nothing 
positively. They are cynical; that is, they tend to put the worse 
construction on everything. Further, their experience makes them 
distrustful and therefore suspicious of evil. Consequently they 
neither love warmly nor hate bitterly, but following the hint of 
Bias they love as though they will some day hate and hate as though 
they will some day love. They are small-minded, because they have been 
humbled by life: their desires are set upon nothing more exalted or 
unusual than what will help them to keep alive. They are not generous, 
because money is one of the things they must have, and at the same 
time their experience has taught them how hard it is to get and how 
easy to lose. They are cowardly, and are always anticipating danger; 
unlike that of the young, who are warm-blooded, their temperament is 
chilly; old age has paved the way for cowardice; fear is, in fact, a 
form of chill. They love life; and all the more when their last day 
has come, because the object of all desire is something we have not 
got, and also because we desire most strongly that which we need 
most urgently. They are too fond of themselves; this is one form 
that small-mindedness takes. Because of this, they guide their lives 
too much by considerations of what is useful and too little by what is 
noble-for the useful is what is good for oneself, and the noble what 
is good absolutely. They are not shy, but shameless rather; caring 
less for what is noble than for what is useful, they feel contempt for 
what people may think of them. They lack confidence in the future; 
partly through experience-f or most things go wrong, or anyhow turn out 
worse than one expects; and partly because of their cowardice. They 
live by memory rather than by hope; for what is left to them of life 
is but little as compared with the long past; and hope is of the 
future, memory of the past. This, again, is the cause of their 
loquacity; they are continually talking of the past, because they 
enjoy remembering it. Their fits of anger are sudden but feeble. Their 
sensual passions have either altogether gone or have lost their 
vigour: consequently they do not feel their passions much, and their 
actions are inspired less by what they do feel than by the love of 
gain. Hence men at this time of life are often supposed to have a 
self-controlled character; the fact is that their passions have 
slackened, and they are slaves to the love of gain. They guide their 
lives by reasoning more than by moral feeling; reasoning being 
directed to utility and moral feeling to moral goodness. If they wrong 
others, they mean to injure them, not to insult them. Old men may feel 
pity, as well as young men, but not for the same reason. Young men 
feel it out of kindness; old men out of weakness, imagining that 
anything that befalls any one else might easily happen to them, which, 
as we saw, is a thought that excites pity. Hence they are querulous, 
and not disposed to jesting or laughter-the love of laughter being the 
very opposite of querulousness . 

Such are the characters of Young Men and Elderly Men. People 
always think well of speeches adapted to, and reflecting, their own 
character: and we can now see how to compose our speeches so as to 
adapt both them and ourselves to our audiences . 

14 

As for Men in their Prime, clearly we shall find that they have a 
character between that of the young and that of the old, free from the 
extremes of either. They have neither that excess of confidence 
which amounts to rashness, nor too much timidity, but the right amount 
of each. They neither trust everybody nor distrust everybody, but 



judge people correctly. Their lives will be guided not by the sole 
consideration either of what is noble or of what is useful, but by 
both; neither by parsimony nor by prodigality, but by what is fit 
and proper. So, too, in regard to anger and desire; they will be brave 
as well as temperate, and temperate as well as brave; these virtues 
are divided between the young and the old; the young are brave but 
intemperate, the old temperate but cowardly. To put it generally, 
all the valuable qualities that youth and age divide between them 
are united in the prime of life, while all their excesses or defects 
are replaced by moderation and fitness. The body is in its prime 
from thirty to f ive-and-thirty; the mind about forty-nine. 

15 

So much for the types of character that distinguish youth, old 
age, and the prime of life. We will now turn to those Gifts of Fortune 
by which human character is affected. First let us consider Good 
Birth. Its effect on character is to make those who have it more 
ambitious; it is the way of all men who have something to start with 
to add to the pile, and good birth implies ancestral distinction. 
The well-born man will look down even on those who are as good as 
his own ancestors, because any far-off distinction is greater than the 
same thing close to us, and better to boast about. Being well-born, 
which means coming of a fine stock, must be distinguished from 
nobility, which means being true to the family nature-a quality not 
usually found in the well-born, most of whom are poor creatures. In 
the generations of men as in the fruits of the earth, there is a 
varying yield; now and then, where the stock is good, exceptional 
men are produced for a while, and then decadence sets in. A clever 
stock will degenerate towards the insane type of character, like the 
descendants of Alcibiades or of the elder Dionysius; a steady stock 
towards the fatuous and torpid type, like the descendants of Cimon, 
Pericles, and Socrates. 

16 

The type of character produced by Wealth lies on the surface for all 
to see. Wealthy men are insolent and arrogant; their possession of 
wealth affects their understanding; they feel as if they had every 
good thing that exists; wealth becomes a sort of standard of value for 
everything else, and therefore they imagine there is nothing it cannot 
buy. They are luxurious and ostentatious; luxurious, because of the 
luxury in which they live and the prosperity which they display; 
ostentatious and vulgar, because, like other people's, their minds are 
regularly occupied with the object of their love and admiration, and 
also because they think that other people's idea of happiness is the 
same as their own. It is indeed quite natural that they should be 
affected thus; for if you have money, there are always plenty of 
people who come begging from you. Hence the saying of Simonides 
about wise men and rich men, in answer to Hiero's wife, who asked 
him whether it was better to grow rich or wise. 'Why, rich, ' he 
said; 'for I see the wise men spending their days at the rich men's 
doors.' Rich men also consider themselves worthy to hold public 
office; for they consider they already have the things that give a 
claim to office. In a word, the type of character produced by wealth 
is that of a prosperous fool. There is indeed one difference between 
the type of the newly-enriched and those who have long been rich: 
the newly-enriched have all the bad qualities mentioned in an 
exaggerated and worse form--to be newly-enriched means, so to speak, 
no education in riches. The wrongs they do others are not meant to 
injure their victims, but spring from insolence or self-indulgence, 
e.g. those that end in assault or in adultery. 

17 



As to Power: here too it may fairly be said that the type of 
character it produces is mostly obvious enough. Some elements in 
this type it shares with the wealthy type, others are better. Those in 
power are more ambitious and more manly in character than the wealthy, 
because they aspire to do the great deeds that their power permits 
them to do. Responsibility makes them more serious: they have to 
keep paying attention to the duties their position involves. They 
are dignified rather than arrogant, for the respect in which they 
are held inspires them with dignity and therefore with 
moderation-dignity being a mild and becoming form of arrogance. If 
they wrong others, they wrong them not on a small but on a great 
scale . 

Good fortune in certain of its branches produces the types of 
character belonging to the conditions just described, since these 
conditions are in fact more or less the kinds of good fortune that are 
regarded as most important. It may be added that good fortune leads us 
to gain all we can in the way of family happiness and bodily 
advantages. It does indeed make men more supercilious and more 
reckless; but there is one excellent quality that goes with 
it-piety, and respect for the divine power, in which they believe 
because of events which are really the result of chance. 

This account of the types of character that correspond to 
differences of age or fortune may end here; for to arrive at the 
opposite types to those described, namely, those of the poor, the 
unfortunate, and the powerless, we have only to ask what the 
opposite qualities are. 



The use of persuasive speech is to lead to decisions. (When we 
know a thing, and have decided about it, there is no further use in 
speaking about it.) This is so even if one is addressing a single 
person and urging him to do or not to do something, as when we scold a 
man for his conduct or try to change his views: the single person is 
as much your 'judge' as if he were one of many; we may say, without 
qualification, that any one is your judge whom you have to persuade. 
Nor does it matter whether we are arguing against an actual opponent 
or against a mere proposition; in the latter case we still have to use 
speech and overthrow the opposing arguments, and we attack these as we 
should attack an actual opponent. Our principle holds good of 
ceremonial speeches also; the 'onlookers' for whom such a speech is 
put together are treated as the judges of it. Broadly speaking, 
however, the only sort of person who can strictly be called a judge is 
the man who decides the issue in some matter of public controversy; 
that is, in law suits and in political debates, in both of which there 
are issues to be decided. In the section on political oratory an 
account has already been given of the types of character that mark the 
different constitutions. 

The manner and means of investing speeches with moral character 
may now be regarded as fully set forth. 

Each of the main divisions of oratory has, we have seen, its own 
distinct purpose. With regard to each division, we have noted the 
accepted views and propositions upon which we may base our 
arguments-f or political, for ceremonial, and for forensic speaking. We 
have further determined completely by what means speeches may be 
invested with the required moral character. We are now to proceed to 
discuss the arguments common to all oratory. All orators, besides 
their special lines of argument, are bound to use, for instance, the 
topic of the Possible and Impossible; and to try to show that a 
thing has happened, or will happen in future. Again, the topic of Size 
is common to all oratory; all of us have to argue that things are 
bigger or smaller than they seem, whether we are making political 
speeches, speeches of eulogy or attack, or prosecuting or defending in 



the law-courts. Having analysed these subjects, we will try to say 
what we can about the general principles of arguing by ' enthymeme ' and 
'example', by the addition of which we may hope to complete the 
project with which we set out. Of the above-mentioned general lines of 
argument, that concerned with Amplification is-as has been already 
said-most appropriate to ceremonial speeches; that concerned with 
the Past, to forensic speeches, where the required decision is 
always about the past; that concerned with Possibility and the Future, 
to political speeches. 

19 

Let us first speak of the Possible and Impossible. It may 
plausibly be argued: That if it is possible for one of a pair of 
contraries to be or happen, then it is possible for the other: e.g. if 
a man can be cured, he can also fall ill; for any two contraries are 
equally possible, in so far as they are contraries. That if of two 
similar things one is possible, so is the other. That if the harder of 
two things is possible, so is the easier. That if a thing can come 
into existence in a good and beautiful form, then it can come into 
existence generally; thus a house can exist more easily than a 
beautiful house. That if the beginning of a thing can occur, so can 
the end; for nothing impossible occurs or begins to occur; thus the 
commensurability of the diagonal of a square with its side neither 
occurs nor can begin to occur. That if the end is possible, so is 
the beginning; for all things that occur have a beginning. That if 
that which is posterior in essence or in order of generation can 
come into being, so can that which is prior: thus if a man can come 
into being, so can a boy, since the boy comes first in order of 
generation; and if a boy can, so can a man, for the man also is first. 
That those things are possible of which the love or desire is natural; 
for no one, as a rule, loves or desires impossibilities. That things 
which are the object of any kind of science or art are possible and 
exist or come into existence. That anything is possible the first step 
in whose production depends on men or things which we can compel or 
persuade to produce it, by our greater strength, our control of 
them, or our friendship with them. That where the parts are 
possible, the whole is possible; and where the whole is possible, 
the parts are usually possible. For if the slit in front, the 
toe-piece, and the upper leather can be made, then shoes can be 
made; and if shoes, then also the front slit and toe-piece. That if 
a whole genus is a thing that can occur, so can the species; and if 
the species can occur, so can the genus: thus, if a sailing vessel can 
be made, so also can a trireme; and if a trireme, then a sailing 
vessel also. That if one of two things whose existence depends on each 
other is possible, so is the other; for instance, if 'double', then 
'half', and if 'half', then 'double'. That if a thing can be 
produced without art or preparation, it can be produced still more 
certainly by the careful application of art to it. Hence Agathon has 
said: 

To some things we by art must needs attain, 
Others by destiny or luck we gain. 

That if anything is possible to inferior, weaker, and stupider 
people, it is more so for their opposites; thus Isocrates said that it 
would be a strange thing if he could not discover a thing that 
Euthynus had found out. As for Impossibility, we can clearly get 
what we want by taking the contraries of the arguments stated above. 

Questions of Past Fact may be looked at in the following ways: 
First, that if the less likely of two things has occurred, the more 
likely must have occurred also. That if one thing that usually follows 
another has happened, then that other thing has happened; that, for 
instance, if a man has forgotten a thing, he has also once learnt 



it. That if a man had the power and the wish to do a thing, he has 
done it; for every one does do whatever he intends to do whenever he 
can do it, there being nothing to stop him. That, further, he has done 
the thing in question either if he intended it and nothing external 
prevented him; or if he had the power to do it and was angry at the 
time; or if he had the power to do it and his heart was set upon 
it-for people as a rule do what they long to do, if they can; bad 
people through lack of self-control; good people, because their hearts 
are set upon good things. Again, that if a thing was 'going to 
happen', it has happened; if a man was 'going to do something', he has 
done it, for it is likely that the intention was carried out. That 
if one thing has happened which naturally happens before another or 
with a view to it, the other has happened; for instance, if it has 
lightened, it has also thundered; and if an action has been attempted, 
it has been done. That if one thing has happened which naturally 
happens after another, or with a view to which that other happens, 
then that other (that which happens first, or happens with a view to 
this thing) has also happened; thus, if it has thundered it has 
lightened, and if an action has been done it has been attempted. Of 
all these sequences some are inevitable and some merely usual. The 
arguments for the non-occurrence of anything can obviously be found by 
considering the opposites of those that have been mentioned. 

How questions of Future Fact should be argued is clear from the same 
considerations: That a thing will be done if there is both the power 
and the wish to do it; or if along with the power to do it there is 
a craving for the result, or anger, or calculation, prompting it. That 
the thing will be done, in these cases, if the man is actually setting 
about it, or even if he means to do it later-for usually what we 
mean to do happens rather than what we do not mean to do. That a thing 
will happen if another thing which naturally happens before it has 
already happened; thus, if it is clouding over, it is likely to 
rain. That if the means to an end have occurred, then the end is 
likely to occur; thus, if there is a foundation, there will be a 
house . 

For arguments about the Greatness and Smallness of things, the 
greater and the lesser, and generally great things and small, what 
we have already said will show the line to take. In discussing 
deliberative oratory we have spoken about the relative greatness of 
various goods, and about the greater and lesser in general. Since 
therefore in each type oratory the object under discussion is some 
kind of good-whether it is utility, nobleness, or justice-it is 
clear that every orator must obtain the materials of amplification 
through these channels. To go further than this, and try to 
establish abstract laws of greatness and superiority, is to argue 
without an object; in practical life, particular facts count more than 
generalizations . 

Enough has now been said about these questions of possibility and 
the reverse, of past or future fact, and of the relative greatness 
or smallness of things. 

20 

The special forms of oratorical argument having now been 
discussed, we have next to treat of those which are common to all 
kinds of oratory. These are of two main kinds, 'Example' and 
' Enthymeme ' ; for the 'Maxim' is part of an enthymeme. 

We will first treat of argument by Example, for it has the nature of 
induction, which is the foundation of reasoning. This form of argument 
has two varieties; one consisting in the mention of actual past facts, 
the other in the invention of facts by the speaker. Of the latter, 
again, there are two varieties, the illustrative parallel and the 
fable (e.g. the fables of Aesop, those from Libya) . As an instance 
of the mention of actual facts, take the following. The speaker may 
argue thus: 'We must prepare for war against the king of Persia and 



not let him subdue Egypt. For Darius of old did not cross the Aegean 
until he had seized Egypt; but once he had seized it, he did cross. 
And Xerxes, again, did not attack us until he had seized Egypt; but 
once he had seized it, he did cross. If therefore the present king 
seizes Egypt, he also will cross, and therefore we must not let him. ' 

The illustrative parallel is the sort of argument Socrates used: 
e.g. 'Public officials ought not to be selected by lot. That is like 
using the lot to select athletes, instead of choosing those who are 
fit for the contest; or using the lot to select a steersman from among 
a ship's crew, as if we ought to take the man on whom the lot falls, 
and not the man who knows most about it. ' 

Instances of the fable are that of Stesichorus about Phalaris, and 
that of Aesop in defence of the popular leader. When the people of 
Himera had made Phalaris military dictator, and were going to give him 
a bodyguard, Stesichorus wound up a long talk by telling them the 
fable of the horse who had a field all to himself. Presently there 
came a stag and began to spoil his pasturage. The horse, wishing to 
revenge himself on the stag, asked a man if he could help him to do 
so. The man said, 'Yes, if you will let me bridle you and get on to 
your back with javelins in my hand' . The horse agreed, and the man 
mounted; but instead of getting his revenge on the stag, the horse 
found himself the slave of the man. 'You too', said Stesichorus, 'take 
care lest your desire for revenge on your enemies, you meet the same 
fate as the horse. By making Phalaris military dictator, you have 
already let yourselves be bridled. If you let him get on to your backs 
by giving him a bodyguard, from that moment you will be his slaves. ' 

Aesop, defending before the assembly at Samos a poular leader who 
was being tried for his life, told this story: A fox, in crossing a 
river, was swept into a hole in the rocks; and, not being able to 
get out, suffered miseries for a long time through the swarms of fleas 
that fastened on her. A hedgehog, while roaming around, noticed the 
fox; and feeling sorry for her asked if he might remove the fleas. But 
the fox declined the offer; and when the hedgehog asked why, she 
replied, 'These fleas are by this time full of me and not sucking much 
blood; if you take them away, others will come with fresh appetites 
and drink up all the blood I have left.' 'So, men of Samos', said 
Aesop, 'my client will do you no further harm; he is wealthy 
already. But if you put him to death, others will come along who are 
not rich, and their peculations will empty your treasury completely.' 

Fables are suitable for addresses to popular assemblies; and they 
have one advantage-they are comparatively easy to invent, whereas it 
is hard to find parallels among actual past events. You will in fact 
frame them just as you frame illustrative parallels: all you require 
is the power of thinking out your analogy, a power developed by 
intellectual training. But while it is easier to supply parallels by 
inventing fables, it is more valuable for the political speaker to 
supply them by quoting what has actually happened, since in most 
respects the future will be like what the past has been. 

Where we are unable to argue by Enthymeme, we must try to 
demonstrate our point by this method of Example, and to convince our 
hearers thereby. If we can argue by Enthymeme, we should use our 
Examples as subsequent supplementary evidence. They should not precede 
the Enthymemes: that will give the argument an inductive air, which 
only rarely suits the conditions of speech-making. If they follow 
the enthymemes, they have the effect of witnesses giving evidence, and 
this alway tells. For the same reason, if you put your examples 
first you must give a large number of them; if you put them last, a 
single one is sufficient; even a single witness will serve if he is 
a good one. It has now been stated how many varieties of argument by 
Example there are, and how and when they are to be employed. 

21 

We now turn to the use of Maxims, in order to see upon what subjects 



and occasions, and for what kind of speaker, they will appropriately 
form part of a speech. This will appear most clearly when we have 
defined a maxim. It is a statement; not a particular fact, such as the 
character of lphicrates, but of a general kind; nor is it about any 
and every sub j ect--e . g . 'straight is the contrary of curved' is not 
a maxim--but only about questions of practical conduct, courses of 
conduct to be chosen or avoided. Now an Enthymeme is a syllogism 
dealing with such practical subjects. It is therefore roughly true 
that the premisses or conclusions of Enthymemes, considered apart from 
the rest of the argument, are Maxims: e.g. 

Never should any man whose wits are sound 

Have his sons taught more wisdom than their fellows. 

Here we have a Maxim; add the reason or explanation, and the whole 
thing is an Enthymeme; thus- 

It makes them idle; and therewith they earn 
Ill-will and jealousy throughout the city. 

Again, 

There is no man in all things prosperous, 

and 

There is no man among us all is free, 

are maxims; but the latter, taken with what follows it, is an 
Enthymeme- 

For all are slaves of money or of chance. 

From this definition of a maxim it follows that there are four kinds 
of maxims. In the first Place, the maxim may or may not have a 
supplement. Proof is needed where the statement is paradoxical or 
disputable; no supplement is wanted where the statement contains 
nothing paradoxical, either because the view expressed is already a 
known truth, e.g. 

Chiefest of blessings is health for a man, as it seemeth to me, 

this being the general opinion: or because, as soon as the view is 
stated, it is clear at a glance, e.g. 

No love is true save that which loves for ever. 

Of the Maxims that do have a supplement attached, some are part of 
an Enthymeme, e.g. 

Never should any man whose wits are sound, &c. 

Others have the essential character of Enthymemes, but are not 
stated as parts of Enthymemes; these latter are reckoned the best; 
they are those in which the reason for the view expressed is simply 
implied, e.g. 

mortal man, nurse not immortal wrath. 

To say 'it is not right to nurse immortal wrath' is a maxim; the 
added words 'mortal man' give the reason. Similarly, with the words 

Mortal creatures ought to cherish mortal, not immortal thoughts. 

What has been said has shown us how many kinds of Maxims there 



are, and to what subjects the various kinds are appropriate. They must 
not be given without supplement if they express disputed or 
paradoxical views: we must, in that case, either put the supplement 
first and make a maxim of the conclusion, e.g. you might say, 'For 
my part, since both unpopularity and idleness are undesirable, I 
hold that it is better not to be educated'; or you may say this first, 
and then add the previous clause. Where a statement, without being 
paradoxical, is not obviously true, the reason should be added as 
concisely as possible. In such cases both laconic and enigmatic 
sayings are suitable: thus one might say what Stesichorus said to 
the Locrians, 'Insolence is better avoided, lest the cicalas chirp 
on the ground ' . 

The use of Maxims is appropriate only to elderly men, and in 
handling subjects in which the speaker is experienced. For a young man 
to use them is-like telling stories-unbecoming; to use them in 
handling things in which one has no experience is silly and 
ill-bred: a fact sufficiently proved by the special fondness of 
country fellows for striking out maxims, and their readiness to air 
them. 

To declare a thing to be universally true when it is not is most 
appropriate when working up feelings of horror and indignation in 
our hearers; especially by way of preface, or after the facts have 
been proved. Even hackneyed and commonplace maxims are to be used, 
if they suit one's purpose: just because they are commonplace, every 
one seems to agree with them, and therefore they are taken for 
truth. Thus, any one who is calling on his men to risk an engagement 
without obtaining favourable omens may quote 

One omen of all is hest, that we fight for our fatherland. 

Or, if he is calling on them to attack a stronger force- 

The War-God showeth no favour. 

Or, if he is urging people to destroy the innocent children of their 
enemies- 
Fool, who slayeth the father and leaveth his sons to avenge him. 

Some proverbs are also maxims, e.g. the proverb 'An Attic 
neighbour' . You are not to avoid uttering maxims that contradict 
such sayings as have become public property (I mean such sayings as 
'know thyself' and 'nothing in excess') if doing so will raise your 
hearers' opinion of your character, or convey an effect of strong 
emotion--e . g . an angry speaker might well say, 'It is not true that we 
ought to know ourselves: anyhow, if this man had known himself, he 
would never have thought himself fit for an army command. ' It will 
raise people's opinion of our character to say, for instance, 'We 
ought not to follow the saying that bids us treat our friends as 
future enemies : much better to treat our enemies as future friends . ' 
The moral purpose should be implied partly by the very wording of 
our maxim. Failing this, we should add our reason: e.g. having said 
'We should treat our friends, not as the saying advises, but as if 
they were going to be our friends always ' , we should add ' for the 
other behaviour is that of a traitor' : or we might put it, I 
disapprove of that saying. A true friend will treat his friend as if 
he were going to be his friend for ever'; and again, 'Nor do I approve 
of the saying "nothing in excess": we are bound to hate bad men 
excessively.' One great advantage of Maxims to a speaker is due to the 
want of intelligence in his hearers, who love to hear him succeed in 
expressing as a universal truth the opinions which they hold 
themselves about particular cases. I will explain what I mean by this, 
indicating at the same time how we are to hunt down the maxims 
required. The maxim, as has been already said, a general statement and 



people love to hear stated in general terms what they already 
believe in some particular connexion: e.g. if a man happens to have 
bad neighbours or bad children, he will agree with any one who tells 
him, 'Nothing is more annoying than having neighbours', or, 'Nothing 
is more foolish than to be the parent of children.' The orator has 
therefore to guess the subjects on which his hearers really hold views 
already, and what those views are, and then must express, as general 
truths, these same views on these same subjects. This is one advantage 
of using maxims. There is another which is more important-it invests a 
speech with moral character. There is moral character in every 
speech in which the moral purpose is conspicuous: and maxims always 
produce this effect, because the utterance of them amounts to a 
general declaration of moral principles: so that, if the maxims are 
sound, they display the speaker as a man of sound moral character. 
So much for the Maxim-its nature, varieties, proper use, and 
advantages . 

22 

We now come to the Enthymemes, and will begin the subject with 
some general consideration of the proper way of looking for them, 
and then proceed to what is a distinct question, the lines of argument 
to be embodied in them. It has already been pointed out that the 
Enthymeme is a syllogism, and in what sense it is so. We have also 
noted the differences between it and the syllogism of dialectic. 
Thus we must not carry its reasoning too far back, or the length of 
our argument will cause obscurity: nor must we put in all the steps 
that lead to our conclusion, or we shall waste words in saying what is 
manifest. It is this simplicity that makes the uneducated more 
effective than the educated when addressing popular audiences-makes 
them, as the poets tell us, 'charm the crowd's ears more finely' . 
Educated men lay down broad general principles; uneducated men argue 
from common knowledge and draw obvious conclusions. We must not, 
therefore, start from any and every accepted opinion, but only from 
those we have def ined-those accepted by our judges or by those whose 
authority they recognize: and there must, moreover, be no doubt in the 
minds of most, if not all, of our judges that the opinions put forward 
really are of this sort. We should also base our arguments upon 
probabilities as well as upon certainties. 

The first thing we have to remember is this. Whether our argument 
concerns public affairs or some other subject, we must know some, if 
not all, of the facts about the subject on which we are to speak and 
argue. Otherwise we can have no materials out of which to construct 
arguments. I mean, for instance, how could we advise the Athenians 
whether they should go to war or not, if we did not know their 
strength, whether it was naval or military or both, and how great it 
is; what their revenues amount to; who their friends and enemies 
are; what wars, too, they have waged, and with what success; and so 
on? Or how could we eulogize them if we knew nothing about the 
sea-fight at Salamis, or the battle of Marathon, or what they did 
for the Heracleidae, or any other facts like that? All eulogy is based 
upon the noble deeds--real or imaginary--that stand to the credit of 
those eulogized. On the same principle, invectives are based on 
facts of the opposite kind: the orator looks to see what base 
deeds--real or imaginary--stand to the discredit of those he is 
attacking, such as treachery to the cause of Hellenic freedom, or 
the enslavement of their gallant allies against the barbarians 
(Aegina, Potidaea, &c.), or any other misdeeds of this kind that are 
recorded against them. So, too, in a court of law: whether we are 
prosecuting or defending, we must pay attention to the existing 
facts of the case. It makes no difference whether the subject is the 
Lacedaemonians or the Athenians, a man or a god; we must do the same 
thing. Suppose it to be Achilles whom we are to advise, to praise or 
blame, to accuse or defend; here too we must take the facts, real or 



imaginary; these must be our material, whether we are to praise or 
blame him for the noble or base deeds he has done, to accuse or defend 
him for his just or unjust treatment of others, or to advise him about 
what is or is not to his interest. The same thing applies to any 
subject whatever. Thus, in handling the question whether justice is or 
is not a good, we must start with the real facts about justice and 
goodness. We see, then, that this is the only way in which any one 
ever proves anything, whether his arguments are strictly cogent or 
not: not all facts can form his basis, but only those that bear on the 
matter in hand: nor, plainly, can proof be effected otherwise by means 
of the speech. Consequently, as appears in the Topics, we must first 
of all have by us a selection of arguments about questions that may 
arise and are suitable for us to handle; and then we must try to think 
out arguments of the same type for special needs as they emerge; not 
vaguely and indefinitely, but by keeping our eyes on the actual 
facts of the subject we have to speak on, and gathering in as many 
of them as we can that bear closely upon it: for the more actual facts 
we have at our command, the more easily we prove our case; and the 
more closely they bear on the subject, the more they will seem to 
belong to that speech only instead of being commonplaces. By 
'commonplaces' I mean, for example, eulogy of Achilles because he is a 
human being or a demi-god, or because he joined the expedition against 
Troy: these things are true of many others, so that this kind of 
eulogy applies no better to Achilles than to Diomede. The special 
facts here needed are those that are true of Achilles alone; such 
facts as that he slew Hector, the bravest of the Trojans, and Cycnus 
the invulnerable, who prevented all the Greeks from landing, and again 
that he was the youngest man who joined the expedition, and was not 
bound by oath to join it, and so on. 

Here, again, we have our first principle of selection of 
Enthymemes-that which refers to the lines of argument selected. We 
will now consider the various elementary classes of enthymemes . (By an 
'elementary class' of enthymeme I mean the same thing as a 'line of 
argument' .) We will begin, as we must begin, by observing that there 
are two kinds of enthymemes. One kind proves some affirmative or 
negative proposition; the other kind disproves one. The difference 
between the two kinds is the same as that between syllogistic proof 
and disproof in dialectic. The demonstrative enthymeme is formed by 
the conjunction of compatible propositions; the refutative, by the 
conjunction of incompatible propositions. 

We may now be said to have in our hands the lines of argument for 
the various special subjects that it is useful or necessary to handle, 
having selected the propositions suitable in various cases. We have, 
in fact, already ascertained the lines of argument applicable to 
enthymemes about good and evil, the noble and the base, justice and 
injustice, and also to those about types of character, emotions, and 
moral qualities. Let us now lay hold of certain facts about the 
whole subject, considered from a different and more general point of 
view. In the course of our discussion we will take note of the 
distinction between lines of proof and lines of disproof: and also 
of those lines of argument used in what seems to be enthymemes, but 
are not, since they do not represent valid syllogisms. Having made all 
this clear, we will proceed to classify Objections and Refutations, 
showing how they can be brought to bear upon enthymemes. 

23 

1 . One line of positive proof is based upon consideration of the 
opposite of the thing in question. Observe whether that opposite has 
the opposite quality. If it has not, you refute the original 
proposition; if it has, you establish it. E.g. 'Temperance is 
beneficial; for licentiousness is hurtful'. Or, as in the Messenian 
speech, 'If war is the cause of our present troubles, peace is what we 
need to put things right again' . Or- 



For if not even evil-doers should 

Anger us if they meant not what they did, 

Then can we owe no gratitude to such 

As were constrained to do the good they did us . 



Or- 



Since in this world liars may win belief, 

Be sure of the opposite likewise-that this world 

Hears many a true word and believes it not. 

2. Another line of proof is got by considering some modification 
of the key-word, and arguing that what can or cannot be said of the 
one, can or cannot be said of the other: e.g. 'just' does not always 
mean 'beneficial', or 'justly' would always mean 'beneficially', 
whereas it is not desirable to be justly put to death. 

3. Another line of proof is based upon correlative ideas. If it is 
true that one man noble or just treatment to another, you argue that 
the other must have received noble or just treatment; or that where it 
is right to command obedience, it must have been right to obey the 
command. Thus Diomedon, the tax-farmer, said of the taxes: 'If it is 
no disgrace for you to sell them, it is no disgrace for us to buy 
them' . Further, if 'well' or 'justly' is true of the person to whom 

a thing is done, you argue that it is true of the doer. But it is 
possible to draw a false conclusion here. It may be just that A should 
be treated in a certain way, and yet not just that he should be so 
treated by B. Hence you must ask yourself two distinct questions: 
(1) Is it right that A should be thus treated? (2) Is it right that 
B should thus treat him? and apply your results properly, according as 
your answers are Yes or No. Sometimes in such a case the two answers 
differ: you may quite easily have a position like that in the Alcmaeon 
of Theodectes : 

And was there none to loathe thy mother's crime? 

to which question Alcmaeon in reply says, 

Why, there are two things to examine here. 

And when Alphesiboea asks what he means, he rejoins: 

They judged her fit to die, not me to slay her. 

Again there is the lawsuit about Demosthenes and the men who killed 
Nicanor; as they were judged to have killed him justly, it was thought 
that he was killed justly. And in the case of the man who was killed 
at Thebes, the judges were requested to decide whether it was unjust 
that he should be killed, since if it was not, it was argued that it 
could not have been unjust to kill him. 

4. Another line of proof is the 'a fortiori' . Thus it may be 
argued that if even the gods are not omniscient, certainly human 
beings are not. The principle here is that, if a quality does not in 
fact exist where it is more likely to exist, it clearly does not exist 
where it is less likely. Again, the argument that a man who strikes 
his father also strikes his neighbours follows from the principle 
that, if the less likely thing is true, the more likely thing is 

true also; for a man is less likely to strike his father than to 
strike his neighbours. The argument, then, may run thus. Or it may 
be urged that, if a thing is not true where it is more likely, it is 
not true where it is less likely; or that, if it is true where it is 
less likely, it is true where it is more likely: according as we 
have to show that a thing is or is not true. This argument might 
also be used in a case of parity, as in the lines: 



Thou hast pity for thy sire, who has lost his sons: 
Hast none for Oeneus, whose brave son is dead? 

And, again, 'if Theseus did no wrong, neither did Paris'; or 'the sons 
of Tyndareus did no wrong, neither did Paris'; or 'if Hector did 
well to slay Patroclus, Paris did well to slay Achilles' . And 'if 
other followers of an art are not bad men, neither are 
philosophers' . And 'if generals are not bad men because it often 
happens that they are condemned to death, neither are sophists' . And 
the remark that 'if each individual among you ought to think of his 
own city's reputation, you ought all to think of the reputation of 
Greece as a whole' . 

5. Another line of argument is based on considerations of time. Thus 
Iphicrates, in the case against Harmodius, said, 'if before doing 

the deed I had bargained that, if I did it, I should have a statue, 
you would have given me one. Will you not give me one now that I 
have done the deed? You must not make promises when you are 
expecting a thing to be done for you, and refuse to fulfil them when 
the thing has been done. ' And, again, to induce the Thebans to let 
Philip pass through their territory into Attica, it was argued that 
'if he had insisted on this before he helped them against the 
Phocians, they would have promised to do it. It is monstrous, 
therefore, that just because he threw away his advantage then, and 
trusted their honour, they should not let him pass through now' . 

6. Another line is to apply to the other speaker what he has said 
against yourself. It is an excellent turn to give to a debate, as 
may be seen in the Teucer. It was employed by Iphicrates in his 
reply to Aristophon. 'Would you', he asked, 'take a bribe to betray 
the fleet?' 'No', said Aristophon; and Iphicrates replied, 'Very good: 
if you, who are Aristophon, would not betray the fleet, would I, who 
am Iphicrates?' Only, it must be recognized beforehand that the 
other man is more likely than you are to commit the crime in question. 
Otherwise you will make yourself ridiculous; it is Aristeides who is 
prosecuting, you cannot say that sort of thing to him. The purpose 

is to discredit the prosecutor, who as a rule would have it appear 
that his character is better than that of the defendant, a 
pretension which it is desirable to upset. But the use of such an 
argument is in all cases ridiculous if you are attacking others for 
what you do or would do yourself, or are urging others to do what 
you neither do nor would do yourself. 

7. Another line of proof is secured by defining your terms. Thus, 
'What is the supernatural? Surely it is either a god or the work of 
a god. Well, any one who believes that the work of a god exists, 
cannot help also believing that gods exist.' Or take the argument of 
Iphicrates, 'Goodness is true nobility; neither Harmodius nor 
Aristogeiton had any nobility before they did a noble deed' . He also 
argued that he himself was more akin to Harmodius and Aristogeiton 
than his opponent was. 'At any rate, my deeds are more akin to those 
of Harmodius and Aristogeiton than yours are' . Another example may 
be found in the Alexander. 'Every one will agree that by incontinent 
people we mean those who are not satisfied with the enjoyment of one 
love. ' A further example is to be found in the reason given by 
Socrates for not going to the court of Archelaus . He said that 'one is 
insulted by being unable to requite benefits, as well as by being 
unable to requite injuries'. All the persons mentioned define their 
term and get at its essential meaning, and then use the result when 
reasoning on the point at issue. 

8 . Another line of argument is founded upon the various senses of 

a word. Such a word is 'rightly', as has been explained in the Topics. 
Another line is based upon logical division. Thus, 'All men do wrong 
from one of three motives, A, B, or C: in my case A and B are out of 
the question, and even the accusers do not allege C . 

10. Another line is based upon induction. Thus from the case of 



the woman of Peparethus it might be argued that women everywhere can 
settle correctly the facts about their children. Another example of 
this occurred at Athens in the case between the orator Mantias and his 
son, when the boy's mother revealed the true facts: and yet another at 
Thebes, in the case between Ismenias and Stilbon, when Dodonis 
proved that it was Ismenias who was the father of her son 
Thettaliscus, and he was in consequence always regarded as being so. A 
further instance of induction may be taken from the Law of Theodectes : 
'If we do not hand over our horses to the care of men who have 
mishandled other people's horses, nor ships to those who have 
wrecked other people's ships, and if this is true of everything else 
alike, then men who have failed to secure other people's safety are 
not to be employed to secure our own. ' Another instance is the 
argument of Alcidamas: 'Every one honours the wise' . Thus the 
Parians have honoured Archilochus, in spite of his bitter tongue; 
the Chians Homer, though he was not their countryman; the Mytilenaeans 
Sappho, though she was a woman; the Lacedaemonians actually made 
Chilon a member of their senate, though they are the least literary of 
men; the Italian Greeks honoured Pythagoras; the inhabitants of 
Lampsacus gave public burial to Anaxagoras, though he was an alien, 
and honour him even to this day. (It may be argued that peoples for 
whom philosophers legislate are always prosperous) on the ground 
that the Athenians became prosperous under Solon's laws and the 
Lacedaemonians under those of Lycurgus, while at Thebes no sooner 
did the leading men become philosophers than the country began to 
prosper . 

11. Another line of argument is founded upon some decision already 
pronounced, whether on the same subject or on one like it or 
contrary to it. Such a proof is most effective if every one has always 
decided thus; but if not every one, then at any rate most people; or 
if all, or most, wise or good men have thus decided, or the actual 
judges of the present question, or those whose authority they 
accept, or any one whose decision they cannot gainsay because he has 
complete control over them, or those whom it is not seemly to gainsay, 
as the gods, or one's father, or one's teachers. Thus Autocles said, 
when attacking Mixidemides, that it was a strange thing that the Dread 
Goddesses could without loss of dignity submit to the judgement of the 
Areopagus, and yet Mixidemides could not. Or as Sappho said, 'Death is 
an evil thing; the gods have so judged it, or they would die' . Or 
again as Aristippus said in reply to Plato when he spoke somewhat 

too dogmatically, as Aristippus thought: 'Well, anyhow, our friend', 
meaning Socrates, 'never spoke like that'. And Hegesippus, having 
previously consulted Zeus at Olympia, asked Apollo at Delphi 
'whether his opinion was the same as his father's', implying that it 
would be shameful for him to contradict his father. Thus too Isocrates 
argued that Helen must have been a good woman, because Theseus decided 
that she was; and Paris a good man, because the goddesses chose him 
before all others; and Evagoras also, says Isocrates, was good, 
since when Conon met with his misfortune he betook himself to Evagoras 
without trying any one else on the way. 

12. Another line of argument consists in taking separately the parts 
of a subject. Such is that given in the Topics: 'What sort of motion 
is the soul? for it must be this or that. ' The Socrates of 
Theodectes provides an example: 'What temple has he profaned? What 
gods recognized by the state has he not honoured?' 

13. Since it happens that any given thing usually has both good 

and bad consequences, another line of argument consists in using those 
consequences as a reason for urging that a thing should or should 
not be done, for prosecuting or defending any one, for eulogy or 
censure. E.g. education leads both to unpopularity, which is bad, 
and to wisdom, which is good. Hence you either argue, 'It is therefore 
not well to be educated, since it is not well to be unpopular' : or you 
answer, 'No, it is well to be educated, since it is well to be 
wise' . The Art of Rhetoric of Callippus is made up of this line of 



argument, with the addition of those of Possibility and the others 
of that kind already described. 

14. Another line of argument is used when we have to urge or 
discourage a course of action that may be done in either of two 
opposite ways, and have to apply the method just mentioned to both. 
The difference between this one and the last is that, whereas in the 
last any two things are contrasted, here the things contrasted are 
opposites. For instance, the priestess enjoined upon her son not to 
take to public speaking: 'For', she said, 'if you say what is right, 
men will hate you; if you say what is wrong, the gods will hate 
you. ' The reply might be, 'On the contrary, you ought to take to 
public speaking: for if you say what is right the gods will love 

you; if you say what is wrong, men will love you. ' This amounts to the 
proverbial 'buying the marsh with the salt' . It is just this 
situation, viz. when each of two opposites has both a good and a bad 
consequence opposite respectively to each other, that has been 
termed divarication. 

15. Another line of argument is this: The things people approve of 
openly are not those which they approve of secretly: openly, their 
chief praise is given to justice and nobleness; but in their hearts 
they prefer their own advantage. Try, in face of this, to establish 
the point of view which your opponent has not adopted. This is the 
most effective of the forms of argument that contradict common 
opinion . 

16. Another line is that of rational correspondence. E.g. 
Iphicrates, when they were trying to compel his son, a youth under the 
prescribed age, to perform one of the state duties because he was 
tall, said 'If you count tall boys men, you will next be voting 
short men boys' . And Theodectes in his Law said, 'You make citizens of 
such mercenaries as Strabax and Charidemus, as a reward of their 
merits; will you not make exiles of such citizens as those who have 
done irreparable harm among the mercenaries?' 

17. Another line is the argument that if two results are the same 
their antecedents are also the same. For instance, it was a saying 
of Xenophanes that to assert that the gods had birth is as impious 
as to say that they die; the consequence of both statements is that 
there is a time when the gods do not exist. This line of proof assumes 
generally that the result of any given thing is always the same: 

e.g. 'you are going to decide not about Isocrates, but about the value 
of the whole profession of philosophy.' Or, 'to give earth and 
water' means slavery; or, 'to share in the Common Peace' means obeying 
orders. We are to make either such assumptions or their opposite, as 
suits us best. 

18. Another line of argument is based on the fact that men do not 
always make the same choice on a later as on an earlier occasion, 

but reverse their previous choice. E.g. the following enthymeme : 'When 
we were exiles, we fought in order to return; now we have returned, it 
would be strange to choose exile in order not to have to fight. ' one 
occasion, that is, they chose to be true to their homes at the cost of 
fighting, and on the other to avoid fighting at the cost of 
deserting their homes. 

19. Another line of argument is the assertion that some possible 
motive for an event or state of things is the real one: e.g. that a 
gift was given in order to cause pain by its withdrawal. This notion 
underlies the lines: 

God gives to many great prosperity, 

Not of good God towards them, but to make 

The ruin of them more conspicuous. 

Or take the passage from the Meleager of Antiphon: 

To slay no boar, but to be witnesses 
Of Meleager's prowess unto Greece. 



Or the argument in the Ajax of Theodectes, that Diomede chose out 
Odysseus not to do him honour, but in order that his companion might 
be a lesser man than himself-such a motive for doing so is quite 
possible . 

20. Another line of argument is common to forensic and 
deliberative oratory, namely, to consider inducements and 
deterrents, and the motives people have for doing or avoiding the 
actions in question. These are the conditions which make us bound to 
act if they are for us, and to refrain from action if they are against 
us: that is, we are bound to act if the action is possible, easy, 

and useful to ourselves or our friends or hurtful to our enemies; this 
is true even if the action entails loss, provided the loss is 
outweighed by the solid advantage. A speaker will urge action by 
pointing to such conditions, and discourage it by pointing to the 
opposite. These same arguments also form the materials for 
accusation or defence-the deterrents being pointed out by the defence, 
and the inducements by the prosecution. As for the defence, . . .This 
topic forms the whole Art of Rhetoric both of Pamphilus and of 
Callippus . 

21. Another line of argument refers to things which are supposed 
to happen and yet seem incredible. We may argue that people could 

not have believed them, if they had not been true or nearly true: even 
that they are the more likely to be true because they are 
incredible. For the things which men believe are either facts or 
probabilities: if, therefore, a thing that is believed is improbable 
and even incredible, it must be true, since it is certainly not 
believed because it is at all probable or credible. An example is what 
Androcles of the deme Pitthus said in his well-known arraignment of 
the law. The audience tried to shout him down when he observed that 
the laws required a law to set them right. 'Why', he went on, 'fish 
need salt, improbable and incredible as this might seem for 
creatures reared in salt water; and olive-cakes need oil, incredible 
as it is that what produces oil should need it. ' 

22. Another line of argument is to refute our opponent's case by 
noting any contrasts or contradictions of dates, acts, or words that 
it anywhere displays; and this in any of the three following 
connexions. (1) Referring to our opponent's conduct, e.g. 'He says 

he is devoted to you, yet he conspired with the Thirty. ' (2) Referring 
to our own conduct, e.g. 'He says I am litigious, and yet he cannot 
prove that I have been engaged in a single lawsuit. ' (3) Referring 
to both of us together, e.g. 'He has never even lent any one a 
penny, but I have ransomed quite a number of you. ' 

23. Another line that is useful for men and causes that have been 
really or seemingly slandered, is to show why the facts are not as 
supposed; pointing out that there is a reason for the false impression 
given. Thus a woman, who had palmed off her son on another woman, 

was thought to be the lad's mistress because she embraced him; but 
when her action was explained the charge was shown to be groundless. 
Another example is from the Ajax of Theodectes, where Odysseus tells 
Ajax the reason why, though he is really braver than Ajax, he is not 
thought so. 

24. Another line of argument is to show that if the cause is 
present, the effect is present, and if absent, absent. For by 
proving the cause you at once prove the effect, and conversely nothing 
can exist without its cause. Thus Thrasybulus accused Leodamas of 
having had his name recorded as a criminal on the slab in the 
Acropolis, and of erasing the record in the time of the Thirty 
Tyrants: to which Leodamas replied, 'Impossible: for the Thirty 
would have trusted me all the more if my quarrel with the commons 

had been inscribed on the slab. ' 

25. Another line is to consider whether the accused person can 
take or could have taken a better course than that which he is 
recommending or taking, or has taken. If he has not taken this 



better course, it is clear that he is not guilty, since no one 
deliberately and consciously chooses what is bad. This argument is, 
however, fallacious, for it often becomes clear after the event how 
the action could have been done better, though before the event this 
was far from clear. 

26. Another line is, when a contemplated action is inconsistent with 
any past action, to examine them both together. Thus, when the 
people of Elea asked Xenophanes if they should or should not sacrifice 
to Leucothea and mourn for her, he advised them not to mourn for her 
if they thought her a goddess, and not to sacrifice to her if they 
thought her a mortal woman. 

27. Another line is to make previous mistakes the grounds of 
accusation or defence. Thus, in the Medea of Carcinus the accusers 
allege that Medea has slain her children; 'at all events', they say, 
'they are not to be seen '-Medea having made the mistake of sending her 
children away. In defence she argues that it is not her children, 

but Jason, whom she would have slain; for it would have been a mistake 
on her part not to do this if she had done the other. This special 
line of argument for enthymeme forms the whole of the Art of 
Rhetoric in use before Theodorus . 

Another line is to draw meanings from names. Sophocles, for 
instance, says, 

steel in heart as thou art steel in name. 

This line of argument is common in praises of the gods. Thus, too, 
Conon called Thrasybulus rash in counsel. And Herodicus said of 
Thrasymachus, 'You are always bold in battle'; of Polus, 'you are 
always a colt'; and of the legislator Draco that his laws were those 
not of a human being but of a dragon, so savage were they. And, in 
Euripides, Hecuba says of Aphrodite, 

Her name and Folly's (aphrosuns) lightly begin alike, 

and Chaeremon writes 

Pentheus-a name foreshadowing grief (penthos) to come. 

The Refutative Enthymeme has a greater reputation than the 
Demonstrative, because within a small space it works out two 
opposing arguments, and arguments put side by side are clearer to 
the audience. But of all syllogisms, whether refutative or 
demonstrative, those are most applauded of which we foresee the 
conclusions from the beginning, so long as they are not obvious at 
first sight-for part of the pleasure we feel is at our own intelligent 
anticipation; or those which we follow well enough to see the point of 
them as soon as the last word has been uttered. 

24 

Besides genuine syllogisms, there may be syllogisms that look 
genuine but are not; and since an enthymeme is merely a syllogism of a 
particular kind, it follows that, besides genuine enthymemes, there 
may be those that look genuine but are not. 

1 . Among the lines of argument that form the Spurious Enthymeme 
the first is that which arises from the particular words employed. 

(a) One variety of this is when-as in dialectic, without having gone 
through any reasoning process, we make a final statement as if it were 
the conclusion of such a process, 'Therefore so-and-so is not true', 
'Therefore also so-and-so must be true '-so too in rhetoric a compact 
and antithetical utterance passes for an enthymeme, such language 
being the proper province of enthymeme, so that it is seemingly the 
form of wording here that causes the illusion mentioned. In order to 
produce the effect of genuine reasoning by our form of wording it is 



useful to summarize the results of a number of previous reasonings: as 
'some he saved-others he avenged-the Greeks he freed' . Each of these 
statements has been previously proved from other facts; but the mere 
collocation of them gives the impression of establishing some fresh 
conclusion . 

(b) Another variety is based on the use of similar words for 
different things; e.g. the argument that the mouse must be a noble 
creature, since it gives its name to the most august of all 
religious rites-for such the Mysteries are. Or one may introduce, into 
a eulogy of the dog, the dog-star; or Pan, because Pindar said: 

thou blessed one! 

Thou whom they of Olympus call 

The hound of manifold shape 

That follows the Mother of Heaven: 

or we may argue that, because there is much disgrace in there not 
being a dog about, there is honour in being a dog. Or that Hermes is 
readier than any other god to go shares, since we never say 'shares 
all round' except of him. Or that speech is a very excellent thing, 
since good men are not said to be worth money but to be worthy of 
esteem-the phrase 'worthy of esteem' also having the meaning of 'worth 
speech ' . 

2. Another line is to assert of the whole what is true of the parts, 
or of the parts what is true of the whole. A whole and its parts are 
supposed to be identical, though often they are not. You have 
therefore to adopt whichever of these two lines better suits your 
purpose. That is how Euthydemus argues: e.g. that any one knows that 
there is a trireme in the Peiraeus, since he knows the separate 
details that make up this statement. There is also the argument that 
one who knows the letters knows the whole word, since the word is 

the same thing as the letters which compose it; or that, if a double 
portion of a certain thing is harmful to health, then a single portion 
must not be called wholesome, since it is absurd that two good 
things should make one bad thing. Put thus, the enthymeme is 
refutative; put as follows; demonstrative: 'For one good thing 
cannot be made up of two bad things. ' The whole line of argument is 
fallacious. Again, there is Polycrates ' saying that Thrasybulus put 
down thirty tyrants, where the speaker adds them up one by one. Or the 
argument in the Orestes of Theodectes, where the argument is from part 
to whole: 

'Tis right that she who slays her lord should die. 

'It is right, too, that the son should avenge his father. Very good: 
these two things are what Orestes has done. ' Still, perhaps the two 
things, once they are put together, do not form a right act. The 
fallacy might also be said to be due to omission, since the speaker 
fails to say by whose hand a husband-slayer should die. 

3. Another line is the use of indignant language, whether to support 
your own case or to overthrow your opponent's. We do this when we 
paint a highly-coloured picture of the situation without having proved 
the facts of it: if the defendant does so, he produces an impression 
of his innocence; and if the prosecutor goes into a passion, he 
produces an impression of the defendant's guilt. Here there is no 
genuine enthymeme: the hearer infers guilt or innocence, but no 
proof is given, and the inference is fallacious accordingly. 

4. Another line is to use a 'Sign', or single instance, as certain 
evidence; which, again, yields no valid proof. Thus, it might be 
said that lovers are useful to their countries, since the love of 
Harmodius and Aristogeiton caused the downfall of the tyrant 
Hipparchus . Or, again, that Dionysius is a thief, since he is a 
vicious man-there is, of course, no valid proof here; not every 
vicious man is a thief, though every thief is a vicious man. 



5. Another line represents the accidental as essential. An 
instance is what Polycrates says of the mice, that they 'came to the 
rescue' because they gnawed through the bowstrings. Or it might be 
maintained that an invitation to dinner is a great honour, for it 
was because he was not invited that Achilles was 'angered' with the 
Greeks at Tenedos? As a fact, what angered him was the insult 
involved; it was a mere accident that this was the particular form 
that the insult took. 

6. Another is the argument from consequence. In the Alexander, for 
instance, it is argued that Paris must have had a lofty disposition, 
since he despised society and lived by himself on Mount Ida: because 
lofty people do this kind of thing, therefore Paris too, we are to 
suppose, had a lofty soul. Or, if a man dresses fashionably and 
roams around at night, he is a rake, since that is the way rakes 
behave. Another similar argument points out that beggars sing and 
dance in temples, and that exiles can live wherever they please, and 
that such privileges are at the disposal of those we account happy and 
therefore every one might be regarded as happy if only he has those 
privileges. What matters, however, is the circumstances under which 
the privileges are enjoyed. Hence this line too falls under the head 
of fallacies by omission. 

7 . Another line consists in representing as causes things which 
are not causes, on the ground that they happened along with or 
before the event in question. They assume that, because B happens 
after A, it happens because of A. Politicians are especially fond of 
taking this line. Thus Demades said that the policy of Demosthenes was 
the cause of all the mischief, 'for after it the war occurred' . 

8 . Another line consists in leaving out any mention of time and 
circumstances. E.g. the argument that Paris was justified in taking 
Helen, since her father left her free to choose: here the freedom 

was presumably not perpetual; it could only refer to her first choice, 
beyond which her father's authority could not go. Or again, one 
might say that to strike a free man is an act of wanton outrage; but 
it is not so in every case-only when it is unprovoked. 

9. Again, a spurious syllogism may, as in 'eristical' discussions, 
be based on the confusion of the absolute with that which is not 
absolute but particular. As, in dialectic, for instance, it may be 
argued that what-is-not is, on the ground that what-is-not is 
what-is-not: or that the unknown can be known, on the ground that it 
can be known to he unknown: so also in rhetoric a spurious enthymeme 
may be based on the confusion of some particular probability with 
absolute probability. Now no particular probability is universally 
probable: as Agathon says, 

One might perchance say that was probable- 
That things improbable oft will hap to men. 

For what is improbable does happen, and therefore it is probable 
that improbable things will happen. Granted this, one might argue that 
'what is improbable is probable' . But this is not true absolutely. As, 
in eristic, the imposture comes from not adding any clause 
specifying relationship or reference or manner; so here it arises 
because the probability in question is not general but specific. It is 
of this line of argument that Corax's Art of Rhetoric is composed. 
If the accused is not open to the charge-for instance if a weakling be 
tried for violent assault-the defence is that he was not likely to 
do such a thing. But if he is open to the charge-i.e. if he is a 
strong man-the defence is still that he was not likely to do such a 
thing, since he could be sure that people would think he was likely to 
do it. And so with any other charge: the accused must be either open 
or not open to it: there is in either case an appearance of probable 
innocence, but whereas in the latter case the probability is 
genuine, in the former it can only be asserted in the special sense 
mentioned. This sort of argument illustrates what is meant by making 



the worse argument seem the better. Hence people were right in 
objecting to the training Protagoras undertook to give them. It was 
a fraud; the probability it handled was not genuine but spurious, 
and has a place in no art except Rhetoric and Eristic. 

25 

Enthymemes, genuine and apparent, have now been described; the 
next subject is their Refutation. 

An argument may be refuted either by a counter-syllogism or by 
bringing an objection. It is clear that counter-syllogisms can be 
built up from the same lines of arguments as the original 
syllogisms: for the materials of syllogisms are the ordinary 
opinions of men, and such opinions often contradict each other. 
Objections, as appears in the Topics, may be raised in four 
ways-either by directly attacking your opponent's own statement, or by 
putting forward another statement like it, or by putting forward a 
statement contrary to it, or by quoting previous decisions. 

1. By 'attacking your opponent's own statement' I mean, for 
instance, this: if his enthymeme should assert that love is always 
good, the objection can be brought in two ways, either by making the 
general statement that 'all want is an evil', or by making the 
particular one that there would be no talk of 'Caunian love' if 
there were not evil loves as well as good ones. 

2. An objection 'from a contrary statement' is raised when, for 
instance, the opponent's enthymeme having concluded that a good man 
does good to all his friends, you object, 'That proves nothing, for 
a bad man does not do evil to all his friends' . 

3. An example of an objection 'from a like statement' is, the 
enthymeme having shown that ill-used men always hate their 
ill-users, to reply, 'That proves nothing, for well-used men do not 
always love those who used them well' . 

4. The 'decisions' mentioned are those proceeding from well-known 
men; for instance, if the enthymeme employed has concluded that 

'that allowance ought to be made for drunken offenders, since they did 
not know what they were doing', the objection will be, 'Pittacus, 
then, deserves no approval, or he would not have prescribed 
specially severe penalties for offences due to drunkenness'. 

Enthymemes are based upon one or other of four kinds of alleged 
fact: (1) Probabilities, (2) Examples, (3) Infallible Signs, (4) 
Ordinary Signs. (1) Enthymemes based upon Probabilities are those 
which argue from what is, or is supposed to be, usually true. (2) 
Enthymemes based upon Example are those which proceed by induction 
from one or more similar cases, arrive at a general proposition, and 
then argue deductively to a particular inference. (3) Enthymemes based 
upon Infallible Signs are those which argue from the inevitable and 
invariable. (4) Enthymemes based upon ordinary Signs are those which 
argue from some universal or particular proposition, true or false. 

Now (1) as a Probability is that which happens usually but not 
always, Enthymemes founded upon Probabilities can, it is clear, always 
be refuted by raising some objection. The refutation is not always 
genuine: it may be spurious: for it consists in showing not that 
your opponent's premiss is not probable, but Only in showing that it 
is not inevitably true. Hence it is always in defence rather than in 
accusation that it is possible to gain an advantage by using this 
fallacy. For the accuser uses probabilities to prove his case: and 
to refute a conclusion as improbable is not the same thing as to 
refute it as not inevitable. Any argument based upon what usually 
happens is always open to objection: otherwise it would not be a 
probability but an invariable and necessary truth. But the judges 
think, if the refutation takes this form, either that the accuser's 
case is not probable or that they must not decide it; which, as we 
said, is a false piece of reasoning. For they ought to decide by 
considering not merely what must be true but also what is likely to be 



true: this is, indeed, the meaning of 'giving a verdict in 
accordance with one's honest opinion'. Therefore it is not enough 
for the defendant to refute the accusation by proving that the 
charge is not hound to be true: he must do so by showing that it is 
not likely to be true. For this purpose his objection must state 
what is more usually true than the statement attacked. It may do so in 
either of two ways: either in respect of frequency or in respect of 
exactness. It will be most convincing if it does so in both 
respects; for if the thing in question both happens oftener as we 
represent it and happens more as we represent it, the probability is 
particularly great. 

(2) Fallible Signs, and Enthymemes based upon them, can be refuted 
even if the facts are correct, as was said at the outset. For we 
have shown in the Analytics that no Fallible Sign can form part of a 
valid logical proof. 

(3) Enthymemes depending on examples may be refuted in the same 
way as probabilities. If we have a negative instance, the argument 
is refuted, in so far as it is proved not inevitable, even though 
the positive examples are more similar and more frequent. And if the 
positive examples are more numerous and more frequent, we must contend 
that the present case is dissimilar, or that its conditions are 
dissimilar, or that it is different in some way or other. 

(4) It will be impossible to refute Infallible Signs, and Enthymemes 
resting on them, by showing in any way that they do not form a valid 
logical proof: this, too, we see from the Analytics. All we can do 

is to show that the fact alleged does not exist. If there is no 
doubt that it does, and that it is an Infallible Sign, refutation 
now becomes impossible: for this is equivalent to a demonstration 
which is clear in every respect. 



26 

Amplification and Depreciation are not an element of enthymeme . By 
'an element of enthymeme' I mean the same thing as a line of 
enthymematic argument-a general class embracing a large number of 
particular kinds of enthymeme. Amplification and Depreciation are 
one kind of enthymeme, viz. the kind used to show that a thing is 
great or small; just as there are other kinds used to show that a 
thing is good or bad, just or unjust, and anything else of the sort. 
All these things are the subject-matter of syllogisms and 
enthymemes; none of these is the line of argument of an enthymeme; 
no more, therefore, are Amplification and Depreciation. Nor are 
Refutative Enthymemes a different species from Constructive. For it is 
clear that refutation consists either in offering positive proof or in 
raising an objection. In the first case we prove the opposite of our 
adversary's statements. Thus, if he shows that a thing has happened, 
we show that it has not; if he shows that it has not happened, we show 
that it has. This, then, could not be the distinction if there were 
one, since the same means are employed by both parties, enthymemes 
being adduced to show that the fact is or is not so-and-so. An 
objection, on the other hand, is not an enthymeme at all, as was 
said in the Topics, consists in stating some accepted opinion from 
which it will be clear that our opponent has not reasoned correctly or 
has made a false assumption. 

Three points must be studied in making a speech; and we have now 
completed the account of (1) Examples, Maxims, Enthymemes, and in 
general the thought-element the way to invent and refute arguments. We 
have next to discuss (2) Style, and (3) Arrangement. 



3ook III 

1 



IN making a speech one must study three points: first, the means 
of producing persuasion; second, the style, or language, to be used; 
third, the proper arrangement of the various parts of the speech. We 
have already specified the sources of persuasion. We have shown that 
these are three in number; what they are; and why there are only these 
three: for we have shown that persuasion must in every case be 
effected either (1) by working on the emotions of the judges 
themselves, (2) by giving them the right impression of the speakers' 
character, or (3) by proving the truth of the statements made. 

Enthymemes also have been described, and the sources from which they 
should be derived; there being both special and general lines of 
argument for enthymemes. 

Our next subject will be the style of expression. For it is not 
enough to know what we ought to say; we must also say it as we 
ought; much help is thus afforded towards producing the right 
impression of a speech. The first question to receive attention was 
naturally the one that comes first naturally-how persuasion can be 
produced from the facts themselves. The second is how to set these 
facts out in language. A third would be the proper method of delivery; 
this is a thing that affects the success of a speech greatly; but 
hitherto the subject has been neglected. Indeed, it was long before it 
found a way into the arts of tragic drama and epic recitation: at 
first poets acted their tragedies themselves. It is plain that 
delivery has just as much to do with oratory as with poetry. (In 
connexion with poetry, it has been studied by Glaucon of Teos among 
others.) It is, essentially, a matter of the right management of the 
voice to express the various emotions-of speaking loudly, softly, or 
between the two; of high, low, or intermediate pitch; of the various 
rhythms that suit various subjects. These are the three 

things-volume of sound, modulation of pitch, and rhythm-that a speaker 
bears in mind. It is those who do bear them in mind who usually win 
prizes in the dramatic contests; and just as in drama the actors now 
count for more than the poets, so it is in the contests of public 
life, owing to the defects of our political institutions. No 
systematic treatise upon the rules of delivery has yet been 
composed; indeed, even the study of language made no progress till 
late in the day. Besides, delivery is-very properly-not regarded as an 
elevated subject of inquiry. Still, the whole business of rhetoric 
being concerned with appearances, we must pay attention to the subject 
of delivery, unworthy though it is, because we cannot do without it. 
The right thing in speaking really is that we should be satisfied 
not to annoy our hearers, without trying to delight them: we ought 
in fairness to fight our case with no help beyond the bare facts: 
nothing, therefore, should matter except the proof of those facts. 
Still, as has been already said, other things affect the result 
considerably, owing to the defects of our hearers. The arts of 
language cannot help having a small but real importance, whatever it 
is we have to expound to others: the way in which a thing is said does 
affect its intelligibility. Not, however, so much importance as people 
think. All such arts are fanciful and meant to charm the hearer. 
Nobody uses fine language when teaching geometry. 

When the principles of delivery have been worked out, they will 
produce the same effect as on the stage. But only very slight attempts 
to deal with them have been made and by a few people, as by 
Thrasymachus in his 'Appeals to Pity' . Dramatic ability is a natural 
gift, and can hardly be systematically taught. The principles of 
good diction can be so taught, and therefore we have men of ability in 
this direction too, who win prizes in their turn, as well as those 
speakers who excel in delivery-speeches of the written or literary 
kind owe more of their effect to their direction than to their 
thought . 

It was naturally the poets who first set the movement going; for 
words represent things, and they had also the human voice at their 
disposal, which of all our organs can best represent other things. 



Thus the arts of recitation and acting were formed, and others as 
well. Now it was because poets seemed to win fame through their fine 
language when their thoughts were simple enough, that the language 
of oratorical prose at first took a poetical colour, e.g. that of 
Gorgias . Even now most uneducated people think that poetical 
language makes the finest discourses. That is not true: the language 
of prose is distinct from that of poetry. This is shown by the state 
of things to-day, when even the language of tragedy has altered its 
character. Just as iambics were adopted, instead of tetrameters, 
because they are the most prose-like of all metres, so tragedy has 
given up all those words, not used in ordinary talk, which decorated 
the early drama and are still used by the writers of hexameter 
poems. It is therefore ridiculous to imitate a poetical manner which 
the poets themselves have dropped; and it is now plain that we have 
not to treat in detail the whole question of style, but may confine 
ourselves to that part of it which concerns our present subject, 
rhetoric. The other--the poetical--part of it has been discussed in 
the treatise on the Art of Poetry. 



We may, then, start from the observations there made, including 
the definition of style. Style to be good must be clear, as is 
proved by the fact that speech which fails to convey a plain meaning 
will fail to do just what speech has to do. It must also be 
appropriate, avoiding both meanness and undue elevation; poetical 
language is certainly free from meanness, but it is not appropriate to 
prose. Clearness is secured by using the words (nouns and verbs alike) 
that are current and ordinary. Freedom from meanness, and positive 
adornment too, are secured by using the other words mentioned in the 
Art of Poetry. Such variation from what is usual makes the language 
appear more stately. People do not feel towards strangers as they do 
towards their own countrymen, and the same thing is true of their 
feeling for language. It is therefore well to give to everyday 
speech an unfamiliar air: people like what strikes them, and are 
struck by what is out of the way. In verse such effects are common, 
and there they are fitting: the persons and things there spoken of are 
comparatively remote from ordinary life. In prose passages they are 
far less often fitting because the subject-matter is less exalted. 
Even in poetry, it is not quite appropriate that fine language 
should be used by a slave or a very young man, or about very trivial 
subjects: even in poetry the style, to be appropriate, must 
sometimes be toned down, though at other times heightened. We can 
now see that a writer must disguise his art and give the impression of 
speaking naturally and not artificially. Naturalness is persuasive, 
artificiality is the contrary; for our hearers are prejudiced and 
think we have some design against them, as if we were mixing their 
wines for them. It is like the difference between the quality of 
Theodorus ' voice and the voices of all other actors: his really 
seems to be that of the character who is speaking, theirs do not. We 
can hide our purpose successfully by taking the single words of our 
composition from the speech of ordinary life. This is done in poetry 
by Euripides, who was the first to show the way to his successors. 

Language is composed of nouns and verbs. Nouns are of the various 
kinds considered in the treatise on Poetry. Strange words, compound 
words, and invented words must be used sparingly and on few occasions: 
on what occasions we shall state later. The reason for this 
restriction has been already indicated: they depart from what is 
suitable, in the direction of excess. In the language of prose, 
besides the regular and proper terms for things, metaphorical terms 
only can be used with advantage. This we gather from the fact that 
these two classes of terms, the proper or regular and the 
metaphorical-these and no others-are used by everybody in 
conversation. We can now see that a good writer can produce a style 



that is distinguished without being obtrusive, and is at the same time 
clear, thus satisfying our definition of good oratorical prose. 
Words of ambiguous meaning are chiefly useful to enable the sophist to 
mislead his hearers. Synonyms are useful to the poet, by which I 
mean words whose ordinary meaning is the same, e.g. ' porheueseai ' 
(advancing) and 'badizein' (proceeding); these two are ordinary 
words and have the same meaning. 

In the Art of Poetry, as we have already said, will be found 
definitions of these kinds of words; a classification of Metaphors; 
and mention of the fact that metaphor is of great value both in poetry 
and in prose. Prose-writers must, however, pay specially careful 
attention to metaphor, because their other resources are scantier than 
those of poets. Metaphor, moreover, gives style clearness, charm, 
and distinction as nothing else can: and it is not a thing whose use 
can be taught by one man to another. Metaphors, like epithets, must be 
fitting, which means that they must fairly correspond to the thing 
signified: failing this, their inappropriateness will be 
conspicuous: the want of harmony between two things is emphasized by 
their being placed side by side. It is like having to ask ourselves 
what dress will suit an old man; certainly not the crimson cloak 
that suits a young man. And if you wish to pay a compliment, you 
must take your metaphor from something better in the same line; if 
to disparage, from something worse. To illustrate my meaning: since 
opposites are in the same class, you do what I have suggested if you 
say that a man who begs 'prays', and a man who prays 'begs'; for 
praying and begging are both varieties of asking. So Iphicrates called 
Callias a 'mendicant priest' instead of a 'torch-bearer', and 
Callias replied that Iphicrates must be uninitiated or he would have 
called him not a 'mendicant priest' but a 'torch-bearer' . Both are 
religious titles, but one is honourable and the other is not. Again, 
somebody calls actors 'hangers-on of Dionysus', but they call 
themselves 'artists' : each of these terms is a metaphor, the one 
intended to throw dirt at the actor, the other to dignify him. And 
pirates now call themselves 'purveyors' . We can thus call a crime a 
mistake, or a mistake a crime. We can say that a thief 'took' a thing, 
or that he 'plundered' his victim. An expression like that of 
Euripides' Telephus, 

King of the oar, on Mysia's coast he landed, 

is inappropriate; the word 'king' goes beyond the dignity of the 
subject, and so the art is not concealed. A metaphor may be amiss 
because the very syllables of the words conveying it fail to 
indicate sweetness of vocal utterance. Thus Dionysius the Brazen in 
his elegies calls poetry 'Calliope's screech'. Poetry and screeching 
are both, to be sure, vocal utterances. But the metaphor is bad, 
because the sounds of 'screeching', unlike those of poetry, are 
discordant and unmeaning. Further, in using metaphors to give names to 
nameless things, we must draw them not from remote but from kindred 
and similar things, so that the kinship is clearly perceived as soon 
as the words are said. Thus in the celebrated riddle 

I marked how a man glued bronze with fire to another man's body, 



the process is nameless; but both it and gluing are a kind of 
application, and that is why the application of the cupping-glass is 
here called a 'gluing' . Good riddles do, in general, provide us with 
satisfactory metaphors: for metaphors imply riddles, and therefore a 
good riddle can furnish a good metaphor. Further, the materials of 
metaphors must be beautiful; and the beauty, like the ugliness, of all 
words may, as Licymnius says, lie in their sound or in their 
meaning. Further, there is a third consideration-one that upsets the 
fallacious argument of the sophist Bryson, that there is no such thing 



as foul language, because in whatever words you put a given thing your 
meaning is the same. This is untrue. One term may describe a thing 
more truly than another, may be more like it, and set it more 
intimately before our eyes. Besides, two different words will 
represent a thing in two different lights; so on this ground also 
one term must be held fairer or fouler than another. For both of two 
terms will indicate what is fair, or what is foul, but not simply 
their fairness or their foulness, or if so, at any rate not in an 
equal degree. The materials of metaphor must be beautiful to the 
ear, to the understanding, to the eye or some other physical sense. It 
is better, for instance, to say 'rosy-fingered morn', than 
'crimson-fingered' or, worse still, 'red-fingered morn'. The 
epithets that we apply, too, may have a bad and ugly aspect, as when 
Orestes is called a 'mother-slayer'; or a better one, as when he is 
called his 'father's avenger'. Simonides, when the victor in the 
mule-race offered him a small fee, refused to write him an ode, 
because, he said, it was so unpleasant to write odes to half-asses: 
but on receiving an adequate fee, he wrote 

Hail to you, daughters of storm-footed steeds? 

though of course they were daughters of asses too. The same effect 
is attained by the use of diminutives, which make a bad thing less bad 
and a good thing less good. Take, for instance, the banter of 
Aristophanes in the Babylonians where he uses 'goldlet' for 'gold', 
'cloaklet' for 'cloak', 'scoffiet' for 'scoff, and 'plaguelet'. But 
alike in using epithets and in using diminutives we must be wary and 
must observe the mean. 



Bad taste in language may take any of four forms: 

(1) The misuse of compound words. Lycophron, for instance, talks 
of the 'many visaged heaven' above the 'giant-crested earth', and 
again the ' strait-pathed shore'; and Gorgias of the 'pauper-poet 
flatterer' and 'oath-breaking and over-oath-keeping'. Alcidamas uses 
such expressions as 'the soul filling with rage and face becoming 
flame-flushed', and 'he thought their enthusiasm would be 
issue-fraught' and 'issue-fraught he made the persuasion of his 
words', and ' sombre-hued is the floor of the sea' .The way all these 
words are compounded makes them, we feel, fit for verse only. This, 
then, is one form in which bad taste is shown. 

(2) Another is the employment of strange words. For instance, 
Lycophron talks of 'the prodigious Xerxes' and 'spoliative Sciron'; 
Alcidamas of 'a toy for poetry' and 'the witlessness of nature', and 
says 'whetted with the unmitigated temper of his spirit' . 

(3) A third form is the use of long, unseasonable, or frequent 
epithets. It is appropriate enough for a poet to talk of 'white milk', 
in prose such epithets are sometimes lacking in appropriateness or, 
when spread too thickly, plainly reveal the author turning his prose 
into poetry. Of course we must use some epithets, since they lift 

our style above the usual level and give it an air of distinction. But 
we must aim at the due mean, or the result will be worse than if we 
took no trouble at all; we shall get something actually bad instead of 
something merely not good. That is why the epithets of Alcidamas 
seem so tasteless; he does not use them as the seasoning of the 
meat, but as the meat itself, so numerous and swollen and aggressive 
are they. For instance, he does not say 'sweat', but 'the moist 
sweat'; not 'to the Isthmian games', but 'to the world-concourse of 
the Isthmian games'; not 'laws', but 'the laws that are monarchs of 
states'; not 'at a run', but 'his heart impelling him to speed of 
foot'; not 'a school of the Muses', but 'Nature's school of the 
Muses had he inherited'; and so 'frowning care of heart', and 
'achiever' not of 'popularity' but of 'universal popularity', and 



'dispenser of pleasure to his audience', and 'he concealed it' not 
'with boughs' but 'with boughs of the forest trees', and 'he 
clothed' not 'his body' but 'his body's nakedness', and 'his soul's 
desire was counter imitative' (this's at one and the same time a 
compound and an epithet, so that it seems a poet's effort), and 'so 
extravagant the excess of his wickedness' . We thus see how the 
inappropriateness of such poetical language imports absurdity and 
tastelessness into speeches, as well as the obscurity that comes 
from all this verbosity-f or when the sense is plain, you only 
obscure and spoil its clearness by piling up words. 

The ordinary use of compound words is where there is no term for a 
thing and some compound can be easily formed, like 'pastime' 
(chronotribein) ; but if this is much done, the prose character 
disappears entirely. We now see why the language of compounds is 
just the thing for writers of dithyrambs, who love sonorous noises; 
strange words for writers of epic poetry, which is a proud and stately 
affair; and metaphor for iambic verse, the metre which (as has been 
already' said) is widely used to-day. 

(4) There remains the fourth region in which bad taste may be shown, 
metaphor. Metaphors like other things may be inappropriate. Some are 
so because they are ridiculous; they are indeed used by comic as 
well as tragic poets. Others are too grand and theatrical; and 
these, if they are far-fetched, may also be obscure. For instance, 
Gorgias talks of 'events that are green and full of sap', and says 
'foul was the deed you sowed and evil the harvest you reaped' . That is 
too much like poetry. Alcidamas, again, called philosophy 'a 
fortress that threatens the power of law', and the Odyssey 'a goodly 
looking-glass of human life', ' talked about 'offering no such toy to 
poetry' : all these expressions fail, for the reasons given, to carry 
the hearer with them. The address of Gorgias to the swallow, when 
she had let her droppings fall on him as she flew overhead, is in 
the best tragic manner. He said, 'Nay, shame, Philomela' . 
Considering her as a bird, you could not call her act shameful; 
considering her as a girl, you could; and so it was a good gibe to 
address her as what she was once and not as what she is. 



The Simile also is a metaphor; the difference is but slight. When 
the poet says of Achilles that he 

Leapt on the foe as a lion, 

this is a simile; when he says of him 'the lion leapt', it is a 
metaphor-here, since both are courageous, he has transferred to 
Achilles the name of 'lion' . Similes are useful in prose as well as in 
verse; but not often, since they are of the nature of poetry. They are 
to be employed just as metaphors are employed, since they are really 
the same thing except for the difference mentioned. 

The following are examples of similes. Androtion said of Idrieus 
that he was like a terrier let off the chain, that flies at you and 
bites you-Idrieus too was savage now that he was let out of his 
chains . Theodamas compared Archidamus to an Euxenus who could not do 
geometry-a proportional simile, implying that Euxenus is an Archidamus 
who can do geometry. In Plato's Republic those who strip the dead 
are compared to curs which bite the stones thrown at them but do not 
touch the thrower, and there is the simile about the Athenian 
people, who are compared to a ship's captain who is strong but a 
little deaf; and the one about poets' verses, which are likened to 
persons who lack beauty but possess youthful f reshness-when the 
freshness has faded the charm perishes, and so with verses when broken 
up into prose. Pericles compared the Samians to children who take 
their pap but go on crying; and the Boeotians to holm-oaks, because 
they were ruining one another by civil wars just as one oak causes 



another oak's fall. Demosthenes said that the Athenian people were 
like sea-sick men on board ship. Again, Demosthenes compared the 
political orators to nurses who swallow the bit of food themselves and 
then smear the children's lips with the spittle. Antisthenes 
compared the lean Cephisodotus to frankincense, because it was his 
consumption that gave one pleasure. All these ideas may be expressed 
either as similes or as metaphors; those which succeed as metaphors 
will obviously do well also as similes, and similes, with the 
explanation omitted, will appear as metaphors. But the proportional 
metaphor must always apply reciprocally to either of its co-ordinate 
terms. For instance, if a drinking-bowl is the shield of Dionysus, a 
shield may fittingly be called the drinking-bowl of Ares. 



Such, then, are the ingredients of which speech is composed. The 
foundation of good style is correctness of language, which falls under 
five heads. (1) First, the proper use of connecting words, and the 
arrangement of them in the natural sequence which some of them 
require. For instance, the connective 'men' (e.g. ego men) requires 
the correlative de (e.g. o de) . The answering word must be brought 
in before the first has been forgotten, and not be widely separated 
from it; nor, except in the few cases where this is appropriate, is 
another connective to be introduced before the one required. 
Consider the sentence, 'But as soon as he told me (for Cleon had 
come begging and praying), took them along and set out. ' In this 
sentence many connecting words are inserted in front of the one 
required to complete the sense; and if there is a long interval before 
'set out', the result is obscurity. One merit, then, of good style 
lies in the right use of connecting words. (2) The second lies in 
calling things by their own special names and not by vague general 
ones. (3) The third is to avoid ambiguities; unless, indeed, you 
definitely desire to be ambiguous, as those do who have nothing to say 
but are pretending to mean something. Such people are apt to put 
that sort of thing into verse. Empedocles, for instance, by his long 
circumlocutions imposes on his hearers; these are affected in the same 
way as most people are when they listen to diviners, whose ambiguous 
utterances are received with nods of acquiescence- 
Croesus by crossing the Halys will ruin a mighty realm. 

Diviners use these vague generalities about the matter in hand 
because their predictions are thus, as a rule, less likely to be 
falsified. We are more likely to be right, in the game of 'odd and 
even', if we simply guess 'even' or 'odd' than if we guess at the 
actual number; and the oracle-monger is more likely to be right if 
he simply says that a thing will happen than if he says when it will 
happen, and therefore he refuses to add a definite date. All these 
ambiguities have the same sort of effect, and are to be avoided unless 
we have some such object as that mentioned. (4) A fourth rule is to 
observe Protagoras' classification of nouns into male, female, and 
inanimate; for these distinctions also must be correctly given. 
'Upon her arrival she said her say and departed (e d elthousa kai 
dialechtheisa ocheto) . ' (5) A fifth rule is to express plurality, 
fewness, and unity by the correct wording, e.g. 'Having come, they 
struck me (oi d elthontes etupton me) . ' 

It is a general rule that a written composition should be easy to 
read and therefore easy to deliver. This cannot be so where there 
are many connecting words or clauses, or where punctuation is hard, as 
in the writings of Heracleitus . To punctuate Heracleitus is no easy 
task, because we often cannot tell whether a particular word belongs 
to what precedes or what follows it. Thus, at the outset of his 
treatise he says, 'Though this truth is always men understand it not', 
where it is not clear with which of the two clauses the word 



'always' should be joined by the punctuation. Further, the following 
fact leads to solecism, viz. that the sentence does not work out 
properly if you annex to two terms a third which does not suit them 
both. Thus either 'sound' or 'colour' will fail to work out properly 
with some verbs: 'perceive' will apply to both, 'see' will not. 
Obscurity is also caused if, when you intend to insert a number of 
details, you do not first make your meaning clear; for instance, if 
you say, 'I meant, after telling him this, that and the other thing, 
to set out', rather than something of this kind 'I meant to set out 
after telling him; then this, that, and the other thing occurred.' 



The following suggestions will help to give your language 
impressiveness . (1) Describe a thing instead of naming it: do not 
say 'circle', but 'that surface which extends equally from the 
middle every way' . To achieve conciseness, do the opposite-put the 
name instead of the description. When mentioning anything ugly or 
unseemly, use its name if it is the description that is ugly, and 
describe it if it is the name that is ugly. (2) Represent things 
with the help of metaphors and epithets, being careful to avoid 
poetical effects. (3) Use plural for singular, as in poetry, where one 
finds 

Unto havens Achaean, 

though only one haven is meant, and 

Here are my letter's many-leaved folds. 

(4) Do not bracket two words under one article, but put one 
article with each; e.g. 'that wife of ours. ' The reverse to secure 
conciseness; e.g. 'our wife.' Use plenty of connecting words; 
conversely, to secure conciseness, dispense with connectives, while 
still preserving connexion; e.g. 'having gone and spoken', and 'having 
gone, I spoke', respectively. (6) And the practice of Antimachus, too, 
is useful-to describe a thing by mentioning attributes it does not 
possess; as he does in talking of Teumessus 

There is a little wind-swept knoll. . . 

A subject can be developed indefinitely along these lines. You may 
apply this method of treatment by negation either to good or to bad 
qualities, according to which your subject requires. It is from this 
source that the poets draw expressions such as the 'stringless' or 
'lyreless' melody, thus forming epithets out of negations. This device 
is popular in proportional metaphors, as when the trumpet's note is 
called 'a lyreless melody'. 



Your language will be appropriate if it expresses emotion and 
character, and if it corresponds to its subject. 'Correspondence to 
subject' means that we must neither speak casually about weighty 
matters, nor solemnly about trivial ones; nor must we add ornamental 
epithets to commonplace nouns, or the effect will be comic, as in 
the works of Cleophon, who can use phrases as absurd as '0 queenly 
fig-tree' . To express emotion, you will employ the language of anger 
in speaking of outrage; the language of disgust and discreet 
reluctance to utter a word when speaking of impiety or foulness; the 
language of exultation for a tale of glory, and that of humiliation 
for a tale of and so in all other cases. 

This aptness of language is one thing that makes people believe in 
the truth of your story: their minds draw the false conclusion that 



you are to be trusted from the fact that others behave as you do 
when things are as you describe them; and therefore they take your 
story to be true, whether it is so or not. Besides, an emotional 
speaker always makes his audience feel with him, even when there is 
nothing in his arguments; which is why many speakers try to 
overwhelm their audience by mere noise. 

Furthermore, this way of proving your story by displaying these 
signs of its genuineness expresses your personal character. Each class 
of men, each type of disposition, will have its own appropriate way of 
letting the truth appear. Under 'class' I include differences of 
age, as boy, man, or old man; of sex, as man or woman; of nationality, 
as Spartan or Thessalian. By 'dispositions' I here mean those 
dispositions only which determine the character of a man's for it is 
not every disposition that does this. If, then, a speaker uses the 
very words which are in keeping with a particular disposition, he will 
reproduce the corresponding character; for a rustic and an educated 
man will not say the same things nor speak in the same way. Again, 
some impression is made upon an audience by a device which 
speech-writers employ to nauseous excess, when they say 'Who does 
not know this?' or 'It is known to everybody. ' The hearer is ashamed 
of his ignorance, and agrees with the speaker, so as to have a share 
of the knowledge that everybody else possesses. 

All the variations of oratorical style are capable of being used 
in season or out of season. The best way to counteract any 
exaggeration is the well-worn device by which the speaker puts in some 
criticism of himself; for then people feel it must be all right for 
him to talk thus, since he certainly knows what he is doing. 
Further, it is better not to have everything always just corresponding 
to everything else-your hearers will see through you less easily thus. 
I mean for instance, if your words are harsh, you should not extend 
this harshness to your voice and your countenance and have 
everything else in keeping. If you do, the artificial character of 
each detail becomes apparent; whereas if you adopt one device and 
not another, you are using art all the same and yet nobody notices it. 
(To be sure, if mild sentiments are expressed in harsh tones and harsh 
sentiments in mild tones, you become comparatively unconvincing.) 
Compound words, fairly plentiful epithets, and strange words best suit 
an emotional speech. We forgive an angry man for talking about a wrong 
as 'heaven-high' or 'colossal'; and we excuse such language when the 
speaker has his hearers already in his hands and has stirred them 
deeply either by praise or blame or anger or affection, as 
Isocrates, for instance, does at the end of his Panegyric, with his 
'name and fame' and 'in that they brooked' . Men do speak in this 
strain when they are deeply stirred, and so, once the audience is in a 
like state of feeling, approval of course follows. This is why such 
language is fitting in poetry, which is an inspired thing. This 
language, then, should be used either under stress of emotion, or 
ironically, after the manner of Gorgias and of the passages in the 
Phaedrus . 



The form of a prose composition should be neither metrical nor 
destitute of rhythm. The metrical form destroys the hearer's trust 
by its artificial appearance, and at the same time it diverts his 
attention, making him watch for metrical recurrences, just as children 
catch up the herald's question, 'Whom does the freedman choose as 
his advocate?', with the answer 'Cleon! ' On the other hand, 
unrhythmical language is too unlimited; we do not want the limitations 
of metre, but some limitation we must have, or the effect will be 
vague and unsatisfactory. Now it is number that limits all things; and 
it is the numerical limitation of the forms of a composition that 
constitutes rhythm, of which metres are definite sections. Prose, 
then, is to be rhythmical, but not metrical, or it will become not 



prose but verse. It should not even have too precise a prose rhythm, 
and therefore should only be rhythmical to a certain extent. 

Of the various rhythms, the heroic has dignity, but lacks the 
tones of the spoken language. The iambic is the very language of 
ordinary people, so that in common talk iambic lines occur oftener 
than any others: but in a speech we need dignity and the power of 
taking the hearer out of his ordinary self. The trochee is too much 
akin to wild dancing: we can see this in tetrameter verse, which is 
one of the trochaic rhythms. 

There remains the paean, which speakers began to use in the time 
of Thrasymachus, though they had then no name to give it. The paean is 
a third class of rhythm, closely akin to both the two already 
mentioned; it has in it the ratio of three to two, whereas the other 
two kinds have the ratio of one to one, and two to one respectively. 
Between the two last ratios comes the ratio of one-and-a-half to 
one, which is that of the paean. 

Now the other two kinds of rhythm must be rejected in writing prose, 
partly for the reasons given, and partly because they are too 
metrical; and the paean must be adopted, since from this alone of 
the rhythms mentioned no definite metre arises, and therefore it is 
the least obtrusive of them. At present the same form of paean is 
employed at the beginning a at the end of sentences, whereas the end 
should differ from the beginning. There are two opposite kinds of 
paean, one of which is suitable to the beginning of a sentence, 
where it is indeed actually used; this is the kind that begins with 
a long syllable and ends with three short ones, as 

Dalogenes | eite Luki | an, 

and 

Chruseokom | a Ekate | pai Dios . 

The other paean begins, conversely, with three short syllables and 
ends with a long one, as 

meta de Ian | udata t ok | eanon e | oanise nux . 

This kind of paean makes a real close: a short syllable can give no 
effect of finality, and therefore makes the rhythm appear truncated. A 
sentence should break off with the long syllable: the fact that it 
is over should be indicated not by the scribe, or by his period-mark 
in the margin, but by the rhythm itself. 

We have now seen that our language must be rhythmical and not 
destitute of rhythm, and what rhythms, in what particular shape, 
make it so. 



The language of prose must be either free-running, with its parts 
united by nothing except the connecting words, like the preludes in 
dithyrambs; or compact and antithetical, like the strophes of the 
old poets. The free-running style is the ancient one, e.g. 'Herein 
is set forth the inquiry of Herodotus the Thurian. ' Every one used 
this method formerly; not many do so now. By 'free-running' style I 
mean the kind that has no natural stopping-places, and comes to a stop 
only because there is no more to say of that subject. This style is 
unsatisfying just because it goes on indefinitely-one always likes 
to sight a stopping-place in front of one: it is only at the goal that 
men in a race faint and collapse; while they see the end of the course 
before them, they can keep on going. Such, then, is the free-running 
kind of style; the compact is that which is in periods. By a period 
I mean a portion of speech that has in itself a beginning and an 
end, being at the same time not too big to be taken in at a glance. 



Language of this kind is satisfying and easy to follow. It is 
satisfying, because it is just the reverse of indefinite; and 
moreover, the hearer always feels that he is grasping something and 
has reached some definite conclusion; whereas it is unsatisfactory 
to see nothing in front of you and get nowhere. It is easy to 
follow, because it can easily be remembered; and this because language 
when in periodic form can be numbered, and number is the easiest of 
all things to remember. That is why verse, which is measured, is 
always more easily remembered than prose, which is not: the measures 
of verse can be numbered. The period must, further, not be completed 
until the sense is complete: it must not be capable of breaking off 
abruptly, as may happen with the following iambic lines of Sophocles- 

Calydon's soil is this; of Pelops ' land 

(The smiling plains face us across the strait.) 

By a wrong division of the words the hearer may take the meaning 
to be the reverse of what it is: for instance, in the passage 
quoted, one might imagine that Calydon is in the Peloponnesus. 

A Period may be either divided into several members or simple. The 
period of several members is a portion of speech (1) complete in 
itself, (2) divided into parts, and (3) easily delivered at a single 
breath-as a whole, that is; not by fresh breath being taken at the 
division. A member is one of the two parts of such a period. By a 
'simple' period, I mean that which has only one member. The members, 
and the whole periods, should be neither curt nor long. A member which 
is too short often makes the listener stumble; he is still expecting 
the rhythm to go on to the limit his mind has fixed for it; and if 
meanwhile he is pulled back by the speaker's stopping, the shock is 
bound to make him, so to speak, stumble. If, on the other hand, you go 
on too long, you make him feel left behind, just as people who when 
walking pass beyond the boundary before turning back leave their 
companions behind So too if a period is too long you turn it into a 
speech, or something like a dithyrambic prelude. The result is much 
like the preludes that Democritus of Chios jeered at Melanippides 
for writing instead of antistrophic stanzas- 
He that sets traps for another man's feet 
Is like to fall into them first; 
And long-winded preludes do harm to us all, 
But the preluder catches it worst. 

Which applies likewise to long-membered orators. Periods whose members 
are altogether too short are not periods at all; and the result is 
to bring the hearer down with a crash. 

The periodic style which is divided into members is of two kinds. It 
is either simply divided, as in 'I have often wondered at the 
conveners of national gatherings and the founders of athletic 
contests'; or it is antithetical, where, in each of the two members, 
one of one pair of opposites is put along with one of another pair, or 
the same word is used to bracket two opposites, as 'They aided both 
parties-not only those who stayed behind but those who accompanied 
them: for the latter they acquired new territory larger than that at 
home, and to the former they left territory at home that was large 
enough'. Here the contrasted words are 'staying behind' and 
'accompanying', 'enough' and 'larger'. So in the example, 'Both to 
those who want to get property and to those who desire to enjoy it' 
where 'enjoyment' is contrasted with 'getting'. Again, 'it often 
happens in such enterprises that the wise men fail and the fools 
succeed'; 'they were awarded the prize of valour immediately, and 
won the command of the sea not long afterwards'; 'to sail through 
the mainland and march through the sea, by bridging the Hellespont and 
cutting through Athos ' ; 'nature gave them their country and law took 
it away again'; 'of them perished in misery, others were saved in 



disgrace'; 'Athenian citizens keep foreigners in their houses as 
servants, while the city of Athens allows her allies by thousands to 
live as the foreigner's slaves'; and 'to possess in life or to 
bequeath at death' . There is also what some one said about 
Peitholaus and Lycophron in a law-court, 'These men used to sell you 
when they were at home, and now they have come to you here and 
bought you' . All these passages have the structure described above. 
Such a form of speech is satisfying, because the significance of 
contrasted ideas is easily felt, especially when they are thus put 
side by side, and also because it has the effect of a logical 
argument; it is by putting two opposing conclusions side by side 
that you prove one of them false. 

Such, then, is the nature of antithesis. Parisosis is making the two 
members of a period equal in length. Paromoeosis is making the extreme 
words of both members like each other. This must happen either at 
the beginning or at the end of each member. If at the beginning, the 
resemblance must always be between whole words; at the end, between 
final syllables or inflexions of the same word or the same word 
repeated. Thus, at the beginning 

agron gar elaben arlon par' autou 
and 

dorhetoi t epelonto pararretoi t epeessin 

At the end 

ouk wethesan auton paidion tetokenai, 
all autou aitlon lelonenai, 

and 

en pleiotals de opontisi kai en elachistais elpisin 
An example of inflexions of the same word is 

axios de staoenai chalkous ouk axios on chalkou; 
Of the same word repeated, 

su d' auton kai zonta eleges kakos kai nun grafeis kakos. 
Of one syllable, 

ti d' an epaoes deinon, ei andrh' eides arhgon; 

It is possible for the same sentence to have all these features 
together-antithesis, parison, and homoeoteleuton . (The possible 
beginnings of periods have been pretty fully enumerated in the 
Theodectea.) There are also spurious antitheses, like that of 
Epicharmus- 

There one time I as their guest did stay, 
And they were my hosts on another day. 

10 

We may now consider the above points settled, and pass on to say 
something about the way to devise lively and taking sayings. Their 
actual invention can only come through natural talent or long 
practice; but this treatise may indicate the way it is done. We may 
deal with them by enumerating the different kinds of them. We will 
begin by remarking that we all naturally find it agreeable to get hold 



of new ideas easily: words express ideas, and therefore those words 
are the most agreeable that enable us to get hold of new ideas. Now 
strange words simply puzzle us; ordinary words convey only what we 
know already; it is from metaphor that we can best get hold of 
something fresh. When the poet calls 'old age a withered stalk', he 
conveys a new idea, a new fact, to us by means of the general notion 
of bloom, which is common to both things. The similes of the poets 
do the same, and therefore, if they are good similes, give an effect 
of brilliance. The simile, as has been said before, is a metaphor, 
differing from it only in the way it is put; and just because it is 
longer it is less attractive. Besides, it does not say outright that 
'this' is 'that', and therefore the hearer is less interested in the 
idea. We see, then, that both speech and reasoning are lively in 
proportion as they make us seize a new idea promptly. For this 
reason people are not much taken either by obvious arguments (using 
the word 'obvious' to mean what is plain to everybody and needs no 
investigation), nor by those which puzzle us when we hear them stated, 
but only by those which convey their information to us as soon as we 
hear them, provided we had not the information already; or which the 
mind only just fails to keep up with. These two kinds do convey to 
us a sort of information: but the obvious and the obscure kinds convey 
nothing, either at once or later on. It is these qualities, then, 
that, so far as the meaning of what is said is concerned, make an 
argument acceptable. So far as the style is concerned, it is the 
antithetical form that appeals to us, e.g. 'judging that the peace 
common to all the rest was a war upon their own private interests', 
where there is an antithesis between war and peace. It is also good to 
use metaphorical words; but the metaphors must not be far-fetched, 
or they will be difficult to grasp, nor obvious, or they will have 
no effect. The words, too, ought to set the scene before our eyes; for 
events ought to be seen in progress rather than in prospect. So we 
must aim at these three points: Antithesis, Metaphor, and Actuality. 

Of the four kinds of Metaphor the most taking is the proportional 
kind. Thus Pericles, for instance, said that the vanishing from 
their country of the young men who had fallen in the war was 'as if 
the spring were taken out of the year' . Leptines, speaking of the 
Lacedaemonians, said that he would not have the Athenians let Greece 
'lose one of her two eyes' . When Chares was pressing for leave to be 
examined upon his share in the Olynthiac war, Cephisodotus was 
indignant, saying that he wanted his examination to take place 
'while he had his fingers upon the people's throat' . The same 
speaker once urged the Athenians to march to Euboea, 'with 
Miltiades' decree as their rations'. Iphicrates, indignant at the 
truce made by the Athenians with Epidaurus and the neighbouring 
sea-board, said that they had stripped themselves of their 
travelling money for the journey of war. Peitholaus called the 
state-galley 'the people's big stick', and Sestos 'the corn-bin of the 
Peiraeus'. Pericles bade his countrymen remove Aegina, 'that eyesore 
of the Peiraeus.' And Moerocles said he was no more a rascal than 
was a certain respectable citizen he named, 'whose rascality was worth 
over thirty per cent per annum to him, instead of a mere ten like 
his own' .There is also the iambic line of Anaxandrides about the way 
his daughters put off marrying- 

My daughters' marriage-bonds are overdue. 

Polyeuctus said of a paralytic man named Speusippus that he could 
not keep quiet, 'though fortune had fastened him in the pillory of 
disease'. Cephisodotus called warships 'painted millstones'. 
Diogenes the Dog called taverns 'the mess-rooms of Attica'. Aesion 
said that the Athenians had 'emptied' their town into Sicily: this 
is a graphic metaphor. 'Till all Hellas shouted aloud' may be regarded 
as a metaphor, and a graphic one again. Cephisodotus bade the 
Athenians take care not to hold too many 'parades' . Isocrates used the 



same word of those who 'parade at the national festivals. ' Another 
example occurs in the Funeral Speech: 'It is fitting that Greece 
should cut off her hair beside the tomb of those who fell at 
Salamis, since her freedom and their valour are buried in the same 
grave. ' Even if the speaker here had only said that it was right to 
weep when valour was being buried in their grave, it would have been a 
metaphor, and a graphic one; but the coupling of 'their valour' and 
'her freedom' presents a kind of antithesis as well. 'The course of my 
words', said Iphicrates, 'lies straight through the middle of 
Chares' deeds' : this is a proportional metaphor, and the phrase 
'straight through the middle' makes it graphic. The expression 'to 
call in one danger to rescue us from another' is a graphic metaphor. 
Lycoleon said, defending Chabrias, 'They did not respect even that 
bronze statue of his that intercedes for him yonder' .This was a 
metaphor for the moment, though it would not always apply; a vivid 
metaphor, however; Chabrias is in danger, and his statue intercedes 
for him-that lifeless yet living thing which records his services to 
his country. 'Practising in every way littleness of mind' is 
metaphorical, for practising a quality implies increasing it. So is 
'God kindled our reason to be a lamp within our soul', for both reason 
and light reveal things. So is 'we are not putting an end to our wars, 
but only postponing them', for both literal postponement and the 
making of such a peace as this apply to future action. So is such a 
saying as 'This treaty is a far nobler trophy than those we set up 
on fields of battle; they celebrate small gains and single 
successes; it celebrates our triumph in the war as a whole'; for 
both trophy and treaty are signs of victory. So is 'A country pays a 
heavy reckoning in being condemned by the judgement of mankind', for a 
reckoning is damage deservedly incurred. 

11 

It has already been mentioned that liveliness is got by using the 
proportional type of metaphor and being making (ie. making your 
hearers see things) . We have still to explain what we mean by their 
'seeing things', and what must be done to effect this. By 'making them 
see things' I mean using expressions that represent things as in a 
state of activity. Thus, to say that a good man is 'four-square' is 
certainly a metaphor; both the good man and the square are perfect; 
but the metaphor does not suggest activity. On the other hand, in 
the expression 'with his vigour in full bloom' there is a notion of 
activity; and so in 'But you must roam as free as a sacred victim'; 
and in 

Thereas up sprang the Hellenes to their feet, 

where 'up sprang' gives us activity as well as metaphor, for it at 
once suggests swiftness. So with Homer's common practice of giving 
metaphorical life to lifeless things: all such passages are 
distinguished by the effect of activity they convey. Thus, 

Downward anon to the valley rebounded the boulder remorseless; 
and 

The (bitter) arrow flew; 

and 

Flying on eagerly; 
and 

Stuck in the earth, still panting to feed on the flesh of the heroes; 

and 



And the point of the spear in its fury drove 
full through his breastbone. 

In all these examples the things have the effect of being active 
because they are made into living beings; shameless behaviour and fury 
and so on are all forms of activity. And the poet has attached these 
ideas to the things by means of proportional metaphors: as the stone 
is to Sisyphus, so is the shameless man to his victim. In his famous 
similes, too, he treats inanimate things in the same way: 

Curving and crested with white, host following 
host without ceasing. 

Here he represents everything as moving and living; and activity is 
movement . 

Metaphors must be drawn, as has been said already, from things 
that are related to the original thing, and yet not obviously so 
related-just as in philosophy also an acute mind will perceive 
resemblances even in things far apart. Thus Archytas said that an 
arbitrator and an altar were the same, since the injured fly to both 
for refuge. Or you might say that an anchor and an overhead hook 
were the same, since both are in a way the same, only the one 
secures things from below and the other from above. And to speak of 
states as 'levelled' is to identify two widely different things, the 
equality of a physical surface and the equality of political powers. 

Liveliness is specially conveyed by metaphor, and by the further 
power of surprising the hearer; because the hearer expected 
something different, his acquisition of the new idea impresses him all 
the more. His mind seems to say, 'Yes, to be sure; I never thought 
of that' . The liveliness of epigrammatic remarks is due to the meaning 
not being just what the words say: as in the saying of Stesichorus 
that 'the cicalas will chirp to themselves on the ground' . 
Well-constructed riddles are attractive for the same reason; a new 
idea is conveyed, and there is metaphorical expression. So with the 
'novelties' of Theodorus . In these the thought is startling, and, as 
Theodorus puts it, does not fit in with the ideas you already have. 
They are like the burlesque words that one finds in the comic writers. 
The effect is produced even by jokes depending upon changes of the 
letters of a word; this too is a surprise. You find this in verse as 
well as in prose. The word which comes is not what the hearer 
imagined: thus 

Onward he came, and his feet were shod with his-chilblains, 

where one imagined the word would be 'sandals' . But the point should 
be clear the moment the words are uttered. Jokes made by altering 
the letters of a word consist in meaning, not just what you say, but 
something that gives a twist to the word used; e.g. the remark of 
Theodorus about Nicon the harpist Thratt ' ei su ('you Thracian 
slavey'), where he pretends to mean Thratteis su ('you harpplayer ' ) , 
and surprises us when we find he means something else. So you enjoy 
the point when you see it, though the remark will fall flat unless you 
are aware that Nicon is Thracian. Or again: Boulei auton persai . In 
both these cases the saying must fit the facts. This is also true of 
such lively remarks as the one to the effect that to the Athenians 
their empire (arche) of the sea was not the beginning (arche) of their 
troubles, since they gained by it. Or the opposite one of Isocrates, 
that their empire (arche) was the beginning (arche) of their troubles. 
Either way, the speaker says something unexpected, the soundness of 
which is thereupon recognized. There would be nothing clever is saying 
'empire is empire' . Isocrates means more than that, and uses the 
word with a new meaning. So too with the former saying, which denies 
that arche in one sense was arche in another sense. In all these 



jokes, whether a word is used in a second sense or metaphorically, the 
joke is good if it fits the facts. For instance, Anaschetos (proper 
name) ouk anaschetos: where you say that what is so-and-so in one 
sense is not so-and-so in another; well, if the man is unpleasant, the 
joke fits the facts. Again, take- 

Thou must not be a stranger stranger than Thou should' St. 

Do not the words 'thou must not be', &c, amount to saying that 
the stranger must not always be strange? Here again is the use of 
one word in different senses. Of the same kind also is the 
much-praised verse of Anaxandrides : 

Death is most fit before you do 

Deeds that would make death fit for you. 

This amounts to saying 'it is a fit thing to die when you are not 
fit to die', or 'it is a fit thing to die when death is not fit for 
you', i.e. when death is not the fit return for what you are doing. 
The type of language employed-is the same in all these examples; but 
the more briefly and antithetically such sayings can be expressed, the 
more taking they are, for antithesis impresses the new idea more 
firmly and brevity more quickly. They should always have either some 
personal application or some merit of expression, if they are to be 
true without being commonplace-two requirements not always satisfied 
simultaneously. Thus 'a man should die having done no wrong' is true 
but dull: 'the right man should marry the right woman' is also true 
but dull. No, there must be both good qualities together, as in 'it is 
fitting to die when you are not fit for death' . The more a saying 
has these qualitis, the livelier it appears: if, for instance, its 
wording is metaphorical, metaphorical in the right way, 
antithetical, and balanced, and at the same time it gives an idea of 
activity . 

Successful similes also, as has been said above, are in a sense 
metaphors, since they always involve two relations like the 
proportional metaphor. Thus: a shield, we say, is the ' drinking-bowl 
of Ares', and a bow is the 'chordless lyre' . This way of putting a 
metaphor is not 'simple', as it would be if we called the bow a lyre 
or the shield a drinking-bowl. There are 'simple' similes also: we may 
say that a flute-player is like a monkey, or that a short-sighted 
man's eyes are like a lamp-flame with water dropping on it, since both 
eyes and flame keep winking. A simile succeeds best when it is a 
converted metaphor, for it is possible to say that a shield is like 
the drinking-bowl of Ares, or that a ruin is like a house in rags, and 
to say that Niceratus is like a Philoctetes stung by Pratys-the simile 
made by Thrasyniachus when he saw Niceratus, who had been beaten by 
Pratys in a recitation competition, still going about unkempt and 
unwashed. It is in these respects that poets fail worst when they 
fail, and succeed best when they succeed, i.e. when they give the 
resemblance pat, as in 

Those legs of his curl just like parsley leaves; 

and 

Just like Philammon struggling with his punchball. 

These are all similes; and that similes are metaphors has been 
stated often already. 

Proverbs, again, are metaphors from one species to another. Suppose, 
for instance, a man to start some undertaking in hope of gain and then 
to lose by it later on, 'Here we have once more the man of Carpathus 
and his hare', says he. For both alike went through the said 
experience . 

It has now been explained fairly completely how liveliness is 



secured and why it has the effect it has. Successful hyperboles are 
also metaphors, e.g. the one about the man with a black eye, 'you 
would have thought he was a basket of mulberries'; here the 'black 
eye' is compared to a mulberry because of its colour, the exaggeration 
lying in the quantity of mulberries suggested. The phrase 'like 
so-and-so' may introduce a hyperbole under the form of a simile. Thus 

Just like Philammon struggling with his punchball 

is equivalent to 'you would have thought he was Philammon struggling 
with his punchball'; and 

Those legs of his curl just like parsley leaves 

is equivalent to 'his legs are so curly that you would have thought 
they were not legs but parsley leaves' . Hyperboles are for young men 
to use; they show vehemence of character; and this is why angry people 
use them more than other people. 

Not though he gave me as much as the dust 

or the sands of the sea. . . 
But her, the daughter of Atreus ' son, I never will marry, 
Nay, not though she were fairer than Aphrodite the Golden, 
Defter of hand than Athene. . . 

(The Attic orators are particularly fond of this method of 
speech.) Consequently it does not suit an elderly speaker. 

12 

It should be observed that each kind of rhetoric has its own 
appropriate style. The style of written prose is not that of spoken 
oratory, nor are those of political and forensic speaking the same. 
Both written and spoken have to be known. To know the latter is to 
know how to speak good Greek. To know the former means that you are 
not obliged, as otherwise you are, to hold your tongue when you wish 
to communicate something to the general public. 

The written style is the more finished: the spoken better admits 
of dramatic delivery-like the kind of oratory that reflects 
character and the kind that reflects emotion. Hence actors look out 
for plays written in the latter style, and poets for actors 
competent to act in such plays . Yet poets whose plays are meant to 
be read are read and circulated: Chaeremon, for instance, who is as 
finished as a professional speech-writer; and Licymnius among the 
dithyrambic poets. Compared with those of others, the speeches of 
professional writers sound thin in actual contests. Those of the 
orators, on the other hand, are good to hear spoken, but look 
amateurish enough when they pass into the hands of a reader. This is 
just because they are so well suited for an actual tussle, and 
therefore contain many dramatic touches, which, being robbed of all 
dramatic rendering, fail to do their own proper work, and consequently 
look silly. Thus strings of unconnected words, and constant 
repetitions of words and phrases, are very properly condemned in 
written speeches: but not in spoken speeches-speakers use them freely, 
for they have a dramatic effect. In this repetition there must be 
variety of tone, paving the way, as it were, to dramatic effect; 
e.g. 'This is the villain among you who deceived you, who cheated you, 
who meant to betray you completely' . This is the sort of thing that 
Philemon the actor used to do in the Old Men's Madness of Anaxandrides 
whenever he spoke the words ' Rhadamanthus and Palamedes ' , and also 
in the prologue to the Saints whenever he pronounced the pronoun 
'I' . If one does not deliver such things cleverly, it becomes a case 
of 'the man who swallowed a poker' . So too with strings of unconnected 
words, e.g. 'I came to him; I met him; I besought him' . Such passages 



must be acted, not delivered with the same quality and pitch of voice, 
as though they had only one idea in them. They have the further 
peculiarity of suggesting that a number of separate statements have 
been made in the time usually occupied by one. Just as the use of 
conjunctions makes many statements into a single one, so the 
omission of conjunctions acts in the reverse way and makes a single 
one into many. It thus makes everything more important: e.g. 'I came 
to him; I talked to him; I entreated him' -what a lot of facts! the 
hearer thinks- 'he paid no attention to anything I said' . This is the 
effect which Homer seeks when he writes, 

Nireus likewise from Syme (three well-fashioned ships did bring) , 
Nireus, the son of Aglaia (and Charopus, bright-faced king), 
Nireus, the comeliest man (of all that to Ilium's strand) . 

If many things are said about a man, his name must be mentioned many 
times; and therefore people think that, if his name is mentioned 
many times, many things have been said about him. So that Homer, by 
means of this illusion, has made a great deal of though he has 
mentioned him only in this one passage, and has preserved his 
memory, though he nowhere says a word about him afterwards. 

Now the style of oratory addressed to public assemblies is really 
just like scene-painting. The bigger the throng, the more distant is 
the point of view: so that, in the one and the other, high finish in 
detail is superfluous and seems better away. The forensic style is 
more highly finished; still more so is the style of language addressed 
to a single judge, with whom there is very little room for 
rhetorical artifices, since he can take the whole thing in better, and 
judge of what is to the point and what is not; the struggle is less 
intense and so the judgement is undisturbed. This is why the same 
speakers do not distinguish themselves in all these branches at 
once; high finish is wanted least where dramatic delivery is wanted 
most, and here the speaker must have a good voice, and above all, a 
strong one. It is ceremonial oratory that is most literary, for it 
is meant to be read; and next to it forensic oratory. 

To analyse style still further, and add that it must be agreeable or 
magnificent, is useless; for why should it have these traits any 
more than 'restraint', 'liberality', or any other moral excellence? 
Obviously agreeableness will be produced by the qualities already 
mentioned, if our definition of excellence of style has been 
correct. For what other reason should style be 'clear', and 'not mean' 
but 'appropriate'? If it is prolix, it is not clear; nor yet if it 
is curt. Plainly the middle way suits best. Again, style will be 
made agreeable by the elements mentioned, namely by a good blending of 
ordinary and unusual words, by the rhythm, and by-the persuasiveness 
that springs from appropriateness. 

This concludes our discussion of style, both in its general 
aspects and in its special applications to the various branches of 
rhetoric. We have now to deal with Arrangement. 

13 

A speech has two parts. You must state your case, and you must prove 
it. You cannot either state your case and omit to prove it, or prove 
it without having first stated it; since any proof must be a proof 
of something, and the only use of a preliminary statement is the proof 
that follows it. Of these two parts the first part is called the 
Statement of the case, the second part the Argument, just as we 
distinguish between Enunciation and Demonstration. The current 
division is absurd. For 'narration' surely is part of a forensic 
speech only: how in a political speech or a speech of display can 
there be 'narration' in the technical sense? or a reply to a 
forensic opponent? or an epilogue in closely-reasoned speeches? Again, 
introduction, comparison of conflicting arguments, and 



recapitulation are only found in political speeches when there is a 
struggle between two policies. They may occur then; so may even 
accusation and defence, often enough; but they form no essential 
part of a political speech. Even forensic speeches do not always 
need epilogues; not, for instance, a short speech, nor one in which 
the facts are easy to remember, the effect of an epilogue being always 
a reduction in the apparent length. It follows, then, that the only 
necessary parts of a speech are the Statement and the Argument. 
These are the essential features of a speech; and it cannot in any 
case have more than Introduction, Statement, Argument, and Epilogue. 
'Refutation of the Opponent' is part of the arguments: so is 
'Comparison' of the opponent's case with your own, for that process is 
a magnifying of your own case and therefore a part of the arguments, 
since one who does this proves something. The Introduction does 
nothing like this; nor does the Epilogue-it merely reminds us of 
what has been said already. If we make such distinctions we shall end, 
like Theodorus and his followers, by distinguishing 'narration' proper 
from 'post-narration' and ' pre-narration ' , and 'refutation' from 
'final refutation' . But we ought only to bring in a new name if it 
indicates a real species with distinct specific qualities; otherwise 
the practice is pointless and silly, like the way Licymnius invented 
names in his Art of Rhetoric- ' Secundation ' , 'Divagation', 
'Ramification' . 

14 

The Introduction is the beginning of a speech, corresponding to 
the prologue in poetry and the prelude in flute-music; they are all 
beginnings, paving the way, as it were, for what is to follow. The 
musical prelude resembles the introduction to speeches of display; 
as flute players play first some brilliant passage they know well 
and then fit it on to the opening notes of the piece itself, so in 
speeches of display the writer should proceed in the same way; he 
should begin with what best takes his fancy, and then strike up his 
theme and lead into it; which is indeed what is always done. (Take 
as an example the introduction to the Helen of Isocrates-there is 
nothing in common between the 'eristics' and Helen.) And here, even if 
you travel far from your subject, it is fitting, rather than that 
there should be sameness in the entire speech. 

The usual subject for the introductions to speeches of display is 
some piece of praise or censure. Thus Gorgias writes in his Olympic 
Speech, 'You deserve widespread admiration, men of Greece', praising 
thus those who start, ed the festival gatherings.' Isocrates, on the 
other hand, censures them for awarding distinctions to fine athletes 
but giving no prize for intellectual ability. Or one may begin with 
a piece of advice, thus: 'We ought to honour good men and so I 
myself am praising Aristeides' or 'We ought to honour those who are 
unpopular but not bad men, men whose good qualities have never been 
noticed, like Alexander son of Priam. ' Here the orator gives advice. 
Or we may begin as speakers do in the law-courts; that is to say, with 
appeals to the audience to excuse us if our speech is about 
something paradoxical, difficult, or hackneyed; like Choerilus in 
the lines- 

But now when allotment of all has been made. . . 

Introductions to speeches of display, then, may be composed of 
some piece of praise or censure, of advice to do or not to do 
something, or of appeals to the audience; and you must choose 
between making these preliminary passages connected or disconnected 
with the speech itself. 

Introductions to forensic speeches, it must be observed, have the 
same value as the prologues of dramas and the introductions to epic 
poems; the dithyrambic prelude resembling the introduction to a speech 



of display, as 

For thee, and thy gilts, and thy battle-spoils. . . . 

In prologues, and in epic poetry, a foretaste of the theme is given, 
intended to inform the hearers of it in advance instead of keeping 
their minds in suspense. Anything vague puzzles them: so give them a 
grasp of the beginning, and they can hold fast to it and follow the 
argument. So we find- 
Sing, goddess of song, of the Wrath. . . 
Tell me, Muse, of the hero. . . 
Lead me to tell a new tale, how there came great warfare to Europe 
Out of the Asian land. . . 

The tragic poets, too, let us know the pivot of their play; if not 
at the outset like Euripides, at least somewhere in the preface to a 
speech like Sophocles- 

Polybus was my father. . . ; 

and so in Comedy. This, then, is the most essential function and 
distinctive property of the introduction, to show what the aim of 
the speech is; and therefore no introduction ought to be employed 
where the subject is not long or intricate. 

The other kinds of introduction employed are remedial in purpose, 
and may be used in any type of speech. They are concerned with the 
speaker, the hearer, the subject, or the speaker's opponent. Those 
concerned with the speaker himself or with his opponent are directed 
to removing or exciting prejudice. But whereas the defendant will 
begin by dealing with this sort of thing, the prosecutor will take 
quite another line and deal with such matters in the closing part of 
his speech. The reason for this is not far to seek. The defendant, 
when he is going to bring himself on the stage, must clear away any 
obstacles, and therefore must begin by removing any prejudice felt 
against him. But if you are to excite prejudice, you must do so at the 
close, so that the judges may more easily remember what you have said. 

The appeal to the hearer aims at securing his goodwill, or at 
arousing his resentment, or sometimes at gaining his serious attention 
to the case, or even at distracting it-for gaining it is not always an 
advantage, and speakers will often for that reason try to make him 
laugh . 

You may use any means you choose to make your hearer receptive; 
among others, giving him a good impression of your character, which 
always helps to secure his attention. He will be ready to attend to 
anything that touches himself and to anything that is important, 
surprising, or agreeable; and you should accordingly convey to him the 
impression that what you have to say is of this nature. If you wish to 
distract his attention, you should imply that the subject does not 
affect him, or is trivial or disagreeable. But observe, all this has 
nothing to do with the speech itself. It merely has to do with the 
weak-minded tendency of the hearer to listen to what is beside the 
point. Where this tendency is absent, no introduction wanted beyond 
a summary statement of your subject, to put a sort of head on the main 
body of your speech. Moreover, calls for attention, when required, may 
come equally well in any part of a speech; in fact, the beginning of 
it is just where there is least slackness of interest; it is therefore 
ridiculous to put this kind of thing at the beginning, when every 
one is listening with most attention. Choose therefore any point in 
the speech where such an appeal is needed, and then say 'Now I beg you 
to note this point-it concerns you quite as much as myself'; or 

I will tell you that whose like you have never yet 



heard for terror, or for wonder. This is what Prodicus called 
'slipping in a bit of the fifty-drachma show-lecture for the 
audience whenever they began to nod' . It is plain that such 
introductions are addressed not to ideal hearers, but to hearers as we 
find them. The use of introductions to excite prejudice or to dispel 
misgivings is universal- 

My lord, I will not say that eagerly. . . 

or 

Why all this preface? 

Introductions are popular with those whose case is weak, or looks 
weak; it pays them to dwell on anything rather than the actual facts 
of it. That is why slaves, instead of answering the questions put to 
them, make indirect replies with long preambles. The means of exciting 
in your hearers goodwill and various other feelings of the same kind 
have already been described. The poet finely says 

May I find in Phaeacian hearts, at my coming, goodwill and compassion; 

and these are the two things we should aim at. In speeches of 
display we must make the hearer feel that the eulogy includes either 
himself or his family or his way of life or something or other of 
the kind. For it is true, as Socrates says in the Funeral Speech, that 
'the difficulty is not to praise the Athenians at Athens but at 
Sparta ' . 

The introductions of political oratory will be made out of the 
same materials as those of the forensic kind, though the nature of 
political oratory makes them very rare. The subject is known 
already, and therefore the facts of the case need no introduction; but 
you may have to say something on account of yourself or to your 
opponents; or those present may be inclined to treat the matter either 
more or less seriously than you wish them to. You may accordingly have 
to excite or dispel some prejudice, or to make the matter under 
discussion seem more or less important than before: for either of 
which purposes you will want an introduction. You may also want one to 
add elegance to your remarks, feeling that otherwise they will have 
a casual air, like Gorgias ' eulogy of the Eleans, in which, without 
any preliminary sparring or fencing, he begins straight off with 
'Happy city of Elis! ' 

15 

In dealing with prejudice, one class of argument is that whereby you 
can dispel objectionable suppositions about yourself. It makes no 
practical difference whether such a supposition has been put into 
words or not, so that this distinction may be ignored. Another way 
is to meet any of the issues directly: to deny the alleged fact; or to 
say that you have done no harm, or none to him, or not as much as he 
says; or that you have done him no injustice, or not much; or that you 
have done nothing disgraceful, or nothing disgraceful enough to 
matter: these are the sort of questions on which the dispute hinges. 
Thus Iphicrates replying to Nausicrates, admitted that he had done the 
deed alleged, and that he had done Nausicrates harm, but not that he 
had done him wrong. Or you may admit the wrong, but balance it with 
other facts, and say that, if the deed harmed him, at any rate it 
was honourable; or that, if it gave him pain, at least it did him 
good; or something else like that. Another way is to allege that 
your action was due to mistake, or bad luck, or necessity as Sophocles 
said he was not trembling, as his traducer maintained, in order to 
make people think him an old man, but because he could not help it; he 
would rather not be eighty years old. You may balance your motive 



against your actual deed; saying, for instance, that you did not 
mean to injure him but to do so-and-so; that you did not do what you 
are falsely charged with doing-the damage was accidental- ' I should 
indeed be a detestable person if I had deliberately intended this 
result. ' Another way is open when your calumniator, or any of his 
connexions, is or has been subject to the same grounds for 
suspicion. Yet another, when others are subject to the same grounds 
for suspicion but are admitted to be in fact innocent of the charge: 
e.g. 'Must I be a profligate because I am well-groomed? Then so-and-so 
must be one too.' Another, if other people have been calumniated by 
the same man or some one else, or, without being calumniated, have 
been suspected, like yourself now, and yet have been proved 
innocent. Another way is to return calumny for calumny and say, 'It is 
monstrous to trust the man's statements when you cannot trust the 
man himself. ' Another is when the question has been already decided. 
So with Euripides' reply to Hygiaenon, who, in the action for an 
exchange of properties, accused him of impiety in having written a 
line encouraging perjury- 

My tongue hath sworn: no oath is on my soul. 

Euripides said that his opponent himself was guilty in bringing into 
the law-courts cases whose decision belonged to the Dionysiac 
contests. 'If I have not already answered for my words there, I am 
ready to do so if you choose to prosecute me there. ' Another method is 
to denounce calumny, showing what an enormity it is, and in particular 
that it raises false issues, and that it means a lack of confidence in 
the merits of his case. The argument from evidential circumstances 
is available for both parties: thus in the Teucer Odysseus says that 
Teucer is closely bound to Priam, since his mother Hesione was Priam's 
sister. Teucer replies that Telamon his father was Priam's enemy, 
and that he himself did not betray the spies to Priam. Another method, 
suitable for the calumniator, is to praise some trifling merit at 
great length, and then attack some important failing concisely; or 
after mentioning a number of good qualities to attack one bad one that 
really bears on the question. This is the method of thoroughly skilful 
and unscrupulous prosecutors. By mixing up the man's merits with 
what is bad, they do their best to make use of them to damage him. 

There is another method open to both calumniator and apologist. 
Since a given action can be done from many motives, the former must 
try to disparage it by selecting the worse motive of two, the latter 
to put the better construction on it. Thus one might argue that 
Diomedes chose Odysseus as his companion because he supposed 
Odysseus to be the best man for the purpose; and you might reply to 
this that it was, on the contrary, because he was the only hero so 
worthless that Diomedes need not fear his rivalry. 

16 

We may now pass from the subject of calumny to that of Narration. 

Narration in ceremonial oratory is not continuous but 
intermittent. There must, of course, be some survey of the actions 
that form the subject-matter of the speech. The speech is a 
composition containing two parts. One of these is not provided by 
the orator's art, viz. the actions themselves, of which the orator 
is in no sense author. The other part is provided by his namely, the 
proof (where proof is needed) that the actions were done, the 
description of their quality or of their extent, or even all these 
three things together. Now the reason why sometimes it is not 
desirable to make the whole narrative continuous is that the case thus 
expounded is hard to keep in mind. Show, therefore, from one set of 
facts that your hero is, e.g. brave, and from other sets of facts that 
he is able, just, &c. A speech thus arranged is comparatively 
simple, instead of being complicated and elaborate. You will have to 



recall well-known deeds among others; and because they are well-known, 
the hearer usually needs no narration of them; none, for instance, 
if your object is the praise of Achilles; we all know the facts of his 
life-what you have to do is to apply those facts. But if your object 
is the praise of Critias, you must narrate his deeds, which not many 
people know of . . . 

Nowadays it is said, absurdly enough, that the narration should be 
rapid. Remember what the man said to the baker who asked whether he 
was to make the cake hard or soft: 'What, can't you make it right?' 
Just so here. We are not to make long narrations, just as we are not 
to make long introductions or long arguments. Here, again, rightness 
does not consist either in rapidity or in conciseness, but in the 
happy mean; that is, in saying just so much as will make the facts 
plain, or will lead the hearer to believe that the thing has happened, 
or that the man has caused injury or wrong to some one, or that the 
facts are really as important as you wish them to be thought: or the 
opposite facts to establish the opposite arguments. 

You may also narrate as you go anything that does credit to 
yourself, e.g. 'I kept telling him to do his duty and not abandon 
his children'; or discredit to your adversary, e.g. 'But he answered 
me that, wherever he might find himself, there he would find other 
children', the answer Herodotus' records of the Egyptian mutineers. 
Slip in anything else that the judges will enjoy. 

The defendant will make less of the narration. He has to maintain 
that the thing has not happened, or did no harm, or was not unjust, or 
not so bad as is alleged. He must therefor snot waste time about 
what is admitted fact, unless this bears on his own contention; e.g. 
that the thing was done, but was not wrong. Further, we must speak 
of events as past and gone, except where they excite pity or 
indignation by being represented as present. The Story told to 
Alcinous is an example of a brief chronicle, when it is repeated to 
Penelope in sixty lines. Another instance is the Epic Cycle as treated 
by Phayllus, and the prologue to the Oeneus . 

The narration should depict character; to which end you must know 
what makes it do so. One such thing is the indication of moral 
purpose; the quality of purpose indicated determines the quality of 
character depicted and is itself determined by the end pursued. Thus 
it is that mathematical discourses depict no character; they have 
nothing to do with moral purpose, for they represent nobody as 
pursuing any end. On the other hand, the Socratic dialogues do 
depict character, being concerned with moral questions. This end 
will also be gained by describing the manifestations of various 
types of character, e.g. 'he kept walking along as he talked', which 
shows the man's recklessness and rough manners. Do not let your 
words seem inspired so much by intelligence, in the manner now 
current, as by moral purpose: e.g. 'I willed this; aye, it was my 
moral purpose; true, I gained nothing by it, still it is better thus.' 
For the other way shows good sense, but this shows good character; 
good sense making us go after what is useful, and good character after 
what is noble. Where any detail may appear incredible, then add the 
cause of it; of this Sophocles provides an example in the Antigone, 
where Antigone says she had cared more for her brother than for 
husband or children, since if the latter perished they might be 
replaced, 

But since my father and mother in their graves 
Lie dead, no brother can be born to me. 

If you have no such cause to suggest, just say that you are aware that 
no one will believe your words, but the fact remains that such is 
our nature, however hard the world may find it to believe that a man 
deliberately does anything except what pays him. 

Again, you must make use of the emotions. Relate the familiar 
manifestations of them, and those that distinguish yourself and your 



opponent; for instance, 'he went away scowling at me' . So Aeschines 
described Cratylus as 'hissing with fury and shaking his fists'. These 
details carry conviction: the audience take the truth of what they 
know as so much evidence for the truth of what they do not. Plenty 
of such details may be found in Homer: 

Thus did she say: but the old woman buried her face in her hands: 

a true touch-people beginning to cry do put their hands over their 
eyes . 

Bring yourself on the stage from the first in the right character, 
that people may regard you in that light; and the same with your 
adversary; but do not let them see what you are about. How easily such 
impressions may be conveyed we can see from the way in which we get 
some inkling of things we know nothing of by the mere look of the 
messenger bringing news of them. Have some narrative in many different 
parts of your speech; and sometimes let there be none at the beginning 
of it. 

In political oratory there is very little opening for narration; 
nobody can 'narrate' what has not yet happened. If there is 
narration at all, it will be of past events, the recollection of which 
is to help the hearers to make better plans for the future. Or it 
may be employed to attack some one's character, or to eulogize 
him-only then you will not be doing what the political speaker, as 
such, has to do. 

If any statement you make is hard to believe, you must guarantee its 
truth, and at once offer an explanation, and then furnish it with such 
particulars as will be expected. Thus Carcinus ' Jocasta, in his 
Oedipus, keeps guaranteeing the truth of her answers to the 
inquiries of the man who is seeking her son; and so with Haemon in 
Sophocles . 

17 

The duty of the Arguments is to attempt demonstrative proofs. 
These proofs must bear directly upon the question in dispute, which 
must fall under one of four heads. (1) If you maintain that the act 
was not committed, your main task in court is to prove this. (2) If 
you maintain that the act did no harm, prove this. If you maintain 
that (3) the act was less than is alleged, or (4) justified, prove 
these facts, just as you would prove the act not to have been 
committed if you were maintaining that. 

It should be noted that only where the question in dispute falls 
under the first of these heads can it be true that one of the two 
parties is necessarily a rogue. Here ignorance cannot be pleaded, as 
it might if the dispute were whether the act was justified or not. 
This argument must therefore be used in this case only, not in the 
others . 

In ceremonial speeches you will develop your case mainly by 
arguing that what has been done is, e.g., noble and useful. The 
facts themselves are to be taken on trust; proof of them is only 
submitted on those rare occasions when they are not easily credible or 
when they have been set down to some one else. 

In political speeches you may maintain that a proposal is 
impracticable; or that, though practicable, it is unjust, or will do 
no good, or is not so important as its proposer thinks. Note any 
falsehoods about irrelevant matters-they will look like proof that his 
other statements also are false. Argument by 'example' is highly 
suitable for political oratory, argument by ' enthymeme ' better suits 
forensic. Political oratory deals with future events, of which it 
can do no more than quote past events as examples. Forensic oratory 
deals with what is or is not now true, which can better be 
demonstrated, because not contingent-there is no contingency in what 
has now already happened. Do not use a continuous succession of 



enthymemes : intersperse them with other matter, or they will spoil one 
another's effect. There are limits to their number- 
Friend, you have spoken as much as a sensible man would have spoken. 

, as much' says Homer, not 'as well' . Nor should you try to make 
enthymemes on every point; if you do, you will be acting just like 
some students of philosophy, whose conclusions are more familiar and 
believable than the premisses from which they draw them. And avoid the 
enthymeme form when you are trying to rouse feeling; for it will 
either kill the feeling or will itself fall flat: all simultaneous 
motions tend to cancel each other either completely or partially. 
Nor should you go after the enthymeme form in a passage where you 
are depicting character-the process of demonstration can express 
neither moral character nor moral purpose. Maxims should be employed 
in the Arguments-and in the Narration too-since these do express 
character: 'I have given him this, though I am quite aware that one 
should "Trust no man". ' Or if you are appealing to the emotions: 'I do 
not regret it, though I have been wronged; if he has the profit on his 
side, I have justice on mine. ' 

Political oratory is a more difficult task than forensic; and 
naturally so, since it deals with the future, whereas the pleader 
deals with the past, which, as Epimenides of Crete said, even the 
diviners already know. (Epimenides did not practise divination about 
the future; only about the obscurities of the past.) Besides, in 
forensic oratory you have a basis in the law; and once you have a 
starting-point, you can prove anything with comparative ease. Then 
again, political oratory affords few chances for those leisurely 
digressions in which you may attack your adversary, talk about 
yourself, or work on your hearers' emotions; fewer chances indeed, 
than any other affords, unless your set purpose is to divert your 
hearers' attention. Accordingly, if you find yourself in difficulties, 
follow the lead of the Athenian speakers, and that of Isocrates, who 
makes regular attacks upon people in the course of a political speech, 
e.g. upon the Lacedaemonians in the Panegyricus, and upon Chares in 
the speech about the allies. In ceremonial oratory, intersperse your 
speech with bits of episodic eulogy, like Isocrates, who is always 
bringing some one forward for this purpose. And this is what Gorgias 
meant by saying that he always found something to talk about. For if 
he speaks of Achilles, he praises Peleus, then Aeacus, then Zeus; 
and in like manner the virtue of valour, describing its good 
results, and saying what it is like. 

Now if you have proofs to bring forward, bring them forward, and 
your moral discourse as well; if you have no enthymemes, then fall 
back upon moral discourse: after all, it is more fitting for a good 
man to display himself as an honest fellow than as a subtle 
reasoner. Refutative enthymemes are more popular than demonstrative 
ones: their logical cogency is more striking: the facts about two 
opposites always stand out clearly when the two are nut side by side. 

The 'Reply to the Opponent' is not a separate division of the 
speech; it is part of the Arguments to break down the opponent's case, 
whether by objection or by counter-syllogism. Both in political 
speaking and when pleading in court, if you are the first speaker 
you should put your own arguments forward first, and then meet the 
arguments on the other side by refuting them and pulling them to 
pieces beforehand. If, however, the case for the other side contains a 
great variety of arguments, begin with these, like Callistratus in the 
Messenian assembly, when he demolished the arguments likely to be used 
against him before giving his own. If you speak later, you must first, 
by means of refutation and counter-syllogism, attempt some answer to 
your opponent's speech, especially if his arguments have been well 
received. For just as our minds refuse a favourable reception to a 
person against whom they are prejudiced, so they refuse it to a speech 
when they have been favourably impressed by the speech on the other 



side. You should, therefore, make room in the minds of the audience 
for your coming speech; and this will be done by getting your 
opponent's speech out of the way. So attack that first-either the 
whole of it, or the most important, successful, or vulnerable points 
in it, and thus inspire confidence in what you have to say yourself- 

First, champion will I be of Goddesses. . . 
Never, I ween, would Hera. . . 

where the speaker has attacked the silliest argument first. So much 
for the Arguments . 

With regard to the element of moral character: there are 
assertions which, if made about yourself, may excite dislike, appear 
tedious, or expose you to the risk of contradiction; and other 
things which you cannot say about your opponent without seeming 
abusive or ill-bred. Put such remarks, therefore, into the mouth of 
some third person. This is what Isocrates does in the Philippus and in 
the Antidosis, and Archilochus in his satires. The latter represents 
the father himself as attacking his daughter in the lampoon 

Think nought impossible at all, 

Nor swear that it shall not befall. . . 

and puts into the mouth of Charon the carpenter the lampoon which 
begins 

Not for the wealth of Gyes . . . 

So too Sophocles makes Haemon appeal to his father on behalf of 
Antigone as if it were others who were speaking. 

Again, sometimes you should restate your enthymemes in the form of 
maxims; e.g. 'Wise men will come to terms in the hour of success; 
for they will gain most if they do' . Expressed as an enthymeme, this 
would run, 'If we ought to come to terms when doing so will enable 
us to gain the greatest advantage, then we ought to come to terms in 
the hour of success.' 



Next as to Interrogation. The best moment to a employ this is when 
your opponent has so answered one question that the putting of just 
one more lands him in absurdity. Thus Pericles questioned Lampon about 
the way of celebrating the rites of the Saviour Goddess. Lampon 
declared that no uninitiated person could be told of them. Pericles 
then asked, 'Do you know them yourself?' 'Yes', answered Lampon. 
'Why, ' said Pericles, 'how can that be, when you are uninitiated?' 

Another good moment is when one premiss of an argument is 
obviously true, and you can see that your opponent must say 'yes' if 
you ask him whether the other is true. Having first got this answer 
about the other, do not go on to ask him about the obviously true one, 
but just state the conclusion yourself. Thus, when Meletus denied that 
Socrates believed in the existence of gods but admitted that he talked 
about a supernatural power, Socrates proceeded to to ask whether 
'supernatural beings were not either children of the gods or in some 
way divine?' 'Yes', said Meletus. 'Then', replied Socrates, 'is 
there any one who believes in the existence of children of the gods 
and yet not in the existence of the gods themselves?' Another good 
occasion is when you expect to show that your opponent is 
contradicting either his own words or what every one believes. A 
fourth is when it is impossible for him to meet your question except 
by an evasive answer. If he answers 'True, and yet not true', or 
'Partly true and partly not true', or 'True in one sense but not in 
another', the audience thinks he is in difficulties, and applauds 
his discomfiture. In other cases do not attempt interrogation; for 



if your opponent gets in an objection, you are felt to have been 
worsted. You cannot ask a series of questions owing to the 
incapacity of the audience to follow them; and for this reason you 
should also make your enthymemes as compact as possible. 

In replying, you must meet ambiguous questions by drawing reasonable 
distinctions, not by a curt answer. In meeting questions that seem 
to involve you in a contradiction, offer the explanation at the outset 
of your answer, before your opponent asks the next question or draws 
his conclusion. For it is not difficult to see the drift of his 
argument in advance. This point, however, as well as the various means 
of refutation, may be regarded as known to us from the Topics. 

When your opponent in drawing his conclusion puts it in the form 
of a question, you must justify your answer. Thus when Sophocles was 
asked by Peisander whether he had, like the other members of the Board 
of Safety, voted for setting up the Four Hundred, he said 'Yes. '-'Why, 
did you not think it wicked? '-' Yes .'-' So you committed this 
wickedness?' 'Yes', said Sophocles, 'for there was nothing better to 
do. ' Again, the Lacedaemonian, when he was being examined on his 
conduct as ephor, was asked whether he thought that the other ephors 
had been justly put to death. 'Yes', he said. 'Well then', asked his 
opponent, 'did not you propose the same measures as 
they? '-' Yes .'- 'Well then, would not you too be justly put to 
death? '-'Not at all', said he; 'they were bribed to do it, and I did 
it from conviction' . Hence you should not ask any further questions 
after drawing the conclusion, nor put the conclusion itself in the 
form of a further question, unless there is a large balance of truth 
on your side . 

As to jests. These are supposed to be of some service in 
controversy. Gorgias said that you should kill your opponents' 
earnestness with jesting and their jesting with earnestness; in 
which he was right, jests have been classified in the Poetics. Some 
are becoming to a gentleman, others are not; see that you choose 
such as become you. Irony better befits a gentleman than buffoonery; 
the ironical man jokes to amuse himself, the buffoon to amuse other 
people . 

19 

The Epilogue has four parts. You must (1) make the audience 
well-disposed towards yourself and ill-disposed towards your 
opponent (2) magnify or minimize the leading facts, (3) excite the 
required state of emotion in your hearers, and (4) refresh their 
memories . 

(1) Having shown your own truthfulness and the untruthfulness of 
your opponent, the natural thing is to commend yourself, censure 

him, and hammer in your points. You must aim at one of two objects-you 
must make yourself out a good man and him a bad one either in 
yourselves or in relation to your hearers. How this is to be 
managed-by what lines of argument you are to represent people as 
good or bad-this has been already explained. 

(2) The facts having been proved, the natural thing to do next is to 
magnify or minimize their importance. The facts must be admitted 
before you can discuss how important they are; just as the body cannot 
grow except from something already present. The proper lines of 
argument to be used for this purpose of amplification and depreciation 
have already been set forth. 

(3) Next, when the facts and their importance are clearly 
understood, you must excite your hearers ' emotions . These emotions are 
pity, indignation, anger, hatred, envy, emulation, pugnacity. The 
lines of argument to be used for these purposes also have been 
previously mentioned. 

(4) Finally you have to review what you have already said. Here 
you may properly do what some wrongly recommend doing in the 
introduction-repeat your points frequently so as to make them easily 



understood. What you should do in your introduction is to state your 
subject, in order that the point to be judged may be quite plain; in 
the epilogue you should summarize the arguments by which your case has 
been proved. The first step in this reviewing process is to observe 
that you have done what you undertook to do. You must, then, state 
what you have said and why you have said it. Your method may be a 
comparison of your own case with that of your opponent; and you may 
compare either the ways you have both handled the same point or make 
your comparison less direct: 'My opponent said so-and-so on this 
point; I said so-and-so, and this is why I said it' . Or with modest 
irony, e.g. 'He certainly said so-and-so, but I said so-and-so'. Or 
'How vain he would have been if he had proved all this instead of 
that! ' Or put it in the form of a question. 'What has not been 
proved by me?' or 'What has my opponent proved?' You may proceed then, 
either in this way by setting point against point, or by following the 
natural order of the arguments as spoken, first giving your own, and 
then separately, if you wish, those of your opponent. 

For the conclusion, the disconnected style of language is 
appropriate, and will mark the difference between the oration and 
the peroration. 'I have done. You have heard me. The facts are 
before you. I ask for your judgement. ' 



-THE END-