The Art of Rhetoric in the Metamorphoses

1446 WordsNov 15, 20126 Pages
The Art of Rhetoric in the Metamorphoses Among the numerous passages covered in The Metamorphoses of Ovid, there are many stories regarding the origins of the Earth, the activities of the Roman gods, and some of Rome’s significant rulers and founders. Within each of these stories, Ovid injects an overall idea that can be taken away from the text. Many of these overall ideas are themes and lessons, but also there are arts that are illustrated to the reader such as poetry, singing, or weaving. One idea in particular that Ovid portrays is the art of Rhetoric in Greco-Roman culture. Rhetoric was used in Greco-Roman culture often as a means of putting together words in a certain order to persuade or inform your audience of a specific idea.…show more content…
The discussion between the two as a whole is a deliberative and judicial rhetoric battle, but both make use of epideictic rhetoric to strengthen their positions. Ajax is the first to present his argument. Immediately Ajax makes use of epideictic rhetoric by slandering Ulysses’ actions, “he was one who did not hesitate to beat retreat when he was forced to face the torches Hector threw, while I withstood those deadly flames: the fleet was only rescued because of me,” (Ovid 427). Ajax gives evidence that Ulysses was a coward by exposing his retreat in the face of Hector. He also uses amplification and minimization to show how detrimental it was that Ulysses fled, and how great it was that Ajax held his position. Ajax then uses another epideictic statement when he brings in his heritage: And even if you were to doubt my courage, it’s I who claim the nobler lineage. I am the son of Telamon, the friend who helped the sturdy Hercules destroy the walls of Troy and, then, in Jason’s ship, sailed off and reached the distant coast of Colchis. And Telamon was born of Aeacus, who is a judge whitin the silent world—precisely in the place where Sisyphus, the son of Aeolus, must struggle with the weight of his great stone; and Aeacus was born of Jove—as Jove himself admits. (Ovid 427-428) Once again Ajax draws upon a feature

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