2. The Traditions of Rhetoric

  1. M. A. R. Habib

Published Online: 24 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444328004.ch2

Literary Criticism from Plato to the Present: An Introduction

Literary Criticism from Plato to the Present: An Introduction

How to Cite

Habib, M. A. R. (2010) The Traditions of Rhetoric, in Literary Criticism from Plato to the Present: An Introduction, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444328004.ch2

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 7 JAN 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405160346

Online ISBN: 9781444328004



  • traditions of rhetoric - from Greek word rhetor, meaning “speaker”;
  • “rhetoric” - art embracing techniques, speaker composing a speech that would be persuasive - its intellectual, emotional and dramatic appeal to audiences;
  • Greek rhetoric, in ancient Greece, fifth century BC - early development to Sophists, Aristotle, and the Roman world;
  • second office, the “arrangement” (taxis/dispositio) of speech - into a given order;
  • rhetoric, integral part of political process in ancient Greece - in Athens and Syracuse of fifth century BC;
  • Plato's critique of rhetoric - rhetoric in Athenian public life, art of being subject to abuse;
  • Plato's critique of rhetoric in Gorgias - through persona of Socrates, sharp opposition between spheres of philosophy and rhetoric;
  • Aristotle's influential treatise Rhetoric - “counterpart” of dialectic or logical argument;
  • De oratore, addressing - cultural value of rhetoric and connection between rhetoric, philosophy, and other forms of knowledge;
  • the Western world, rhetoric playing a central role in politics and law - center of educational system in Europe


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Greek Rhetoric

  • Roman Rhetoric

  • The Subsequent History of Rhetoric: An Overview

  • The Legacy of Rhetoric