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and rightly considered it is thought vulgar.1 But since the whole business of Rhetoric is to influence opinion,2 we must pay attention to it, not as being right, but necessary; for, as a matter of right, one should aim at nothing more in a speech than how to avoid exciting pain or pleasure. For justice should consist in fighting the case with the facts alone, so that everything else that is beside demonstration is superfluous; nevertheless, as we have just said, it is of great importance owing to the corruption of the hearer. [6] However, in every system of instruction there is some slight necessity to pay attention to style; for it does make a difference, for the purpose of making a thing clear, to speak in this or that manner; still, the difference is not so very great, but all these things3 are mere outward show for pleasing the hearer; wherefore no one teaches geometry in this way.

[7] Now, when delivery comes into fashion, it will have the same effect as acting. Some writers have attempted to say a few words about it, as Thrasymachus, in his Eleoi4; and in fact, a gift for acting is a natural talent and depends less upon art, but in regard to style it is artificial. Wherefore people who excel in this in their turn obtain prizes, just as orators who excel in delivery; for written speeches owe their effect not so much to the sense as to the style.

[8] The poets, as was natural, were the first to give an impulse to style; for words are imitations, and the voice also, which of all our parts is best adapted for imitation, was ready to hand; thus the arts of the rhapsodists, actors, and others, were fashioned. [9] And as the poets, although their utterances were devoid of sense, appeared to have gained their reputation through their style, it was a poetical style that first came into being, as that of Gorgias.5 Even now the majority of the uneducated think that such persons express themselves most beautifully, whereas this is not the case, for the style of prose is not the same as that of poetry. And the result proves it; for even the writers of tragedies do not employ it in the same manner, but as they have changed from the tetrametric to the iambic meter, because the latter, of all other meters, most nearly resembles prose, they have in like manner discarded all such words as differ from those of ordinary conversation, with which the early poets used to adorn their writings, and which even now are employed by the writers of hexameters. It is therefore ridiculous to imitate those who no longer employ that manner of writing. [10] Consequently, it is evident that we need not enter too precisely into all questions of style, but only those which concern such a style as we are discussing. As for the other kind of style,6 it has already been treated in the Poetics.

1 Cope prefers: “is thought vulgar, and rightly so considered.”

2 Or, “is concerned with appearance.”

3 i.e. style, delivery, and acting, which are of no use to serious students.

4 A treatise on Pathos.

5 Of Leontini in Sicily, Greek sophist and rhetorician (see Introduction).

6 i.e. the poetic style. See Aristot. Poet. 22, where the choice of words and the extent to which out-of-the-way words and phrases may be used in poetry is discussed.

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