Psychology as a Base for Rhetorician

Table of Content

a. Since the nature of speech is in fact to direct the soul, whoever intends to be a rhetorician must know the many kinds of soul there are.This quote is by Plato’s Phaedrus.

Here, he characterizes the soul through rhetoric and poetry. He states that rhetoric and poetry shape the soul, and therefore, whoever claims to be a poet or rhetorician, must understand the different natures of the soul. To Plato, the soul is comprised of three different parts: rational, irrational appetite, and the spirited parts of the soul. This tripartite is analogous to the charioteer, the good horse and the bad horse, in The Republic.

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He breaks the soul down in this manner to prescribe a just city, in a broader sense of the work. Socrates further says that to be a good rhetorician, one must understand the subject matter, which includes knowledge of the soul as it is “the agent being acted upon (271a).Socrates claims that to know the subject matter, on must fully understand his/her audience, which includes understanding the different kinds of souls there are. Finally, the rhetorician must be able to discern the character of the audience he is addressing.

This includes fully grasping the audience’s quality of soul to make influential arguments. By addressing the different souls, the reader can see that Plato believes that what we see in the world is not really what is there; He believes in a transcendental world. Appealing to the soul, allows Plato to construct an ideal of the rational individual and appeal to the psyche throughout the Phaedrus.b.

I therefore must have stronger arguments, ere I am convinced that compassion and mirth in the same subject destroy each other and in the meantime cannot but conclude, to the honor of our nation, that we have invented, increased and perfected a more pleasant way of writing for the sage, than was ever known to the ancients or moderns of any nation, which is tragicomedy.This quote is from John Dryden’s An Essay of Dramatic Poesy. Throughout the essay, Dryden advocates that drama must be unified and use proper speech, that violence should not be acted out on stage, that drama should be presented in Shakespearean form, and that rhymed verse rather than blank verse should be used. In this quote he says that combining “compassion” with “mirth does not bring pleasure to the audience; instead the writer should use a more Shakespearean model dealing with tragedy and comedy.

In this quote, he also compares the modern writers with the ancient. Dryden’s overall claim is that writing has evolved, since the ancients, because it is written for a different type of audience whom have a different idea of what theater should be. Therefore, modern writers should create other standards for and of writing.e.

I have said that poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings; it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.This quote is from Wordsworth’s Preface to the Lyrical Ballads. He wrote the preface as an introduction to his poetry in effort to explain its origin. Wordsworth believes that poetry comes from being overwhelmed by nature.

Writing down ones feelings during this cathartic phase, and further, writing these feelings using rhyme and meter, create pleasure. One of Wordsworth’s goals is to relate to the common man. He does this by using simplistic language that the common man can understand associate with. It’s stated in the preface that feeling “gives importance to the action and situation and not the action and situation to the feeling.

“This relates to the quote because it reiterates Wordsworth’s idea that powerful feelings should be the source of poetry rather than poetry being a representation of an action that already took place. In other words, poetry should be written as one is experiencing the feeling, not afterwards. This is setting a standard for the modern writers of how one should go about writing poetry which appeals to commoners.

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