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because respectable persons command more attention. Hearers pay most attention to things that are important, that concern their own interests, that are astonishing, that are agreeable; wherefore one should put the idea into their heads that the speech deals with such subjects. To make his hearers inattentive, the speaker must persuade them that the matter is unimportant, that it does not concern them, that it is painful.  But we must not lose sight of the fact that all such things are outside the question, for they are only addressed to a hearer whose judgement is poor and who is ready to listen to what is beside the case; for if he is not a man of this kind, there is no need of an exordium, except just to make a summary statement of the subject, so that, like a body, it may have a head.  Further, engaging the hearers' attention is common to all parts of the speech, if necessary; for attention slackens everywhere else rather than at the beginning. Accordingly, it is ridiculous to put this1 at the beginning, at a time when all listen with the greatest attention. Wherefore, when the right moment comes, one must say, “And give me your attention, for it concerns you as much as myself”; and, “I will tell you such a thing as you have never yet” heard of, so strange and wonderful. This is what Prodicus used to do; whenever his hearers began to nod, he would throw in a dash of his fifty-drachma lecture.  But it is clear that one does not speak thus to the hearer qua hearer;2 for all in their exordia endeavor either to arouse prejudice or to remove their own apprehensions:
“ O prince, I will not say that with haste [I have come breathless].3
” “ Why this preamble?4
” This is what those also do who have, or seem to have, a bad case; for it is better to lay stress upon anything rather than the case itself. That is why slaves never answer questions directly but go all round them, and indulge in preambles.  We have stated5 how the hearer's goodwill is to be secured and all other similar states of mind. And since it is rightly said, “ Grant that on reaching the Phaeacians I may find friendship or compassion,6
” the orator should aim at exciting these two feelings. In epideictic exordia, one must make the hearer believe that he shares the praise, either himself, or his family, or his pursuits, or at any rate in some way or other. For Socrates says truly in his Funeral Oration that “it is easy to praise Athenians in the presence of Athenians, but not in the presence of Lacedaemonians.”7  Deliberative oratory borrows its exordia from forensic, but naturally they are very uncommon in it. For in fact the hearers are acquainted with the subject, so that the case needs no exordium, except for the orator's own sake, or on account of his adversaries, or if the hearers attach too much or too little importance to the question according to his idea. Wherefore he must either excite or remove prejudice, and magnify or minimize the importance of the subject. Such are the reasons for exordia; or else they merely serve the purpose of ornament,
1 i.e., to claim the hearer's attention at the beginning, for every one is keen to listen then, but later on attention slackens.
2 The hearer qua hearer should be unbiased, but in fact hearers often suffer from the defects referred to in sect. 7, for which certain forms of exordia are remedies.
5 2.1.7, 8.
7 See 1.9.30.
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