The Rhetoric of Simon's Adversary (Lysias 3) Cover Image

The Rhetoric of Simon's Adversary (Lysias 3)
The Rhetoric of Simon's Adversary (Lysias 3)

Author(s): Jan Kucharski
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Keywords: Greek literature; rhetoric; Lysias

Summary/Abstract: Negation and trivialization — these two chief objectives of the defense in Lys. 3, and, in fact, chief objectives of any defense whatsoever, are achieved in the speech firstly and foremostly through contrasting ethopoiiai. The speaker rebuts the claims of the plaintiff, arguing from probability, that unlike his adversary, he is not mad, and only a madman would be capable of doing the deeds he is being accused of. The speaker trivializes the incident under trial as unworthy of prosecution, unless of course, the prosecutor is a sycophant — like Simon. Underlying these is yet another tendency, conveyed through Simon’s hubristic ethopoiia. This tendency is voiced out in a theoretical treatise on composing successful speeches, claiming the authorship of Aristotle himself. Its argument is: “[…] it seems to me that it comes close to no injustice at all, whenever one is subject to the mistreatment by which he himself abused others, as for example, if someone batters (αἰκίσαιτο) one who is accustomed to assault others with hybris (ὑβρίζειν)” (Rhet. 1373a). Whatever befell Simon, he certainly had it coming.

  • Issue Year: 2009
  • Issue No: 6
  • Page Range: 35-50
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: English