Rhetorical figures


Output 2

Theoretical module

Rhetorical figures and tropes

  • Definitions of rhetoric and types of rhetoric
  • Basic terms
  • Monological rhetorical genres
  • Dialogic rhetorical genres and formats
  • Arguments and argumentation
  • Rhetorical figures and tropes
  • Bibliography

Rhetorical figures and tropes

Rhetorical figures and techniques are an essential part of the rhetorical heritage; their use and definition date back millennia. They continue to be part of the rhetorical toolkit in the 21st century. Verbal embellishment (elocutio), which involves the use of rhetorical figures, dates back more than 25 centuries. There are not a few classifications of rhetorical figures. Different criteria have been used in these classifications. Attempts have been made to rethink this part of the categorial-conceptual apparatus of the science of oratory and whether it should remain confined to elocutio and whether it should be only at the verbal level, and there is increasing talk of rhetorical figures at the visual level. It is the rhetorical figures that become part of the terminology of the sciences of stylistics and literary theory in the section on stylistic/literary figures and tropes.

A brief retrospective or overview.

It is accepted that the definition and systematization of rhetorical figures began in Ancient Greece and is associated with the name Gorgias and the Gorgias figures. Aristotle devotes the third book of the Rhetoric to the style, and there he gives an extensive presentation of metaphor, metonymy, simile, litotes, ellipsis, the syllogism, etc. (Aristotle 1986: 156-198). The Roman schools of rhetoric and rhetors also made a significant contribution to the enrichment of rhetorical terminology in the section on rhetorical figures. Quintilian discusses two major groups of figures: of thoughts and of words, and presents his propositions in chapters 8, 9 and 10 (Quintilian 1982: 509-557).

During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the elocutio trend persisted. In the 20th century there was a revival of interest in the science of rhetoric, and a tendency to define and classify figures, to clarify their nature in terms of semiotics, structuralism, etc. Heinrich Lausberg understood figures as a change of language and applied the following criteria in classifying them: addition, omission, alteration or substitution, and transformation (Lausberg: 1960). Tsvetan Todorov also showed interest in rhetorical heritage and presented his statements in scientific publications (Todorov 1982). The members of the µ group introduced as a central notion “metabola”, understood as a deviation from any level of language and speech activity, and the term “zero level” from which the deviation takes place (Dubois 1986). Haim Perelman and Lucy Olbrecht-Tyteca, who attempted to rethink the rhetorical heritage, put forward propositions in Traité de l’argumentation – la nouvelle rhétorique, also presented their own views on rhetorical figures (Perelman & Tyteca 1958).

Electronic resources related to rhetorical figures:

  • A Glossary of Rhetorical Terms with Examples – College of Arts and Science. https://mcl.as.uky.edu/glossary-rhetorical-terms. Retrieved on 10.08.2021.
  • Glossary of Rhetorical Terms – AP English Language and Composition – http://lakeshorehigh.stpsb.org/documents/rhetoricallistenglish3.pdf. последно посещение на 10.08.2021.
  • Morier, H. (1961). Dictionnaire de poetique et de la rhetorique. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

  • Klujeff, M. L. (2011). Rhetorical Figures and Style as Argumentation. Rhetorica Scandinavica 1997-2010, University of Oslo, Retorikfortaget, Sweden, Printed in Poland, 308-329.

  • Larsen, P. (2011). From Figure to Figuration. Rhetorica Scandinavica 1997-2010, University of Oslo, Retorikfortaget, Sweden, Printed in Poland, 250-265.

See the Glossary section for definitions of some rhetorical figures.

See the Online Rhetoric Reference at http://www.online.rhetoric.bg/ for definitions of rhetorical figures.