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[15] He who replies should first state the arguments against the opponent's speech, refuting and answering it by syllogisms, especially if his arguments have met with approval. For as the mind is ill-disposed towards one against whom prejudices have been raised beforehand, it is equally so towards a speech, if the adversary is thought to have spoken well. One must therefore make room in the hearer's mind for the speech one intends to make; and for this purpose you must destroy the impression made by the adversary. Wherefore it is only after having combated all the arguments, or the most important, or those which are plausible, or most easy to refute, that you should substantiate your own case:
“ I will first defend the goddesses, for I [do not think] that Hera . . .1

” in this passage the poet has first seized upon the weakest argument.

1 Eur. Tro. 969-971. Hecuba had advised Menelaus to put Helen to death; she defends herself at length, and is answered by Hecuba in a reply of which these words form part. Her argument is that none of the three goddesses who contended for the prize of beauty on Mt. Ida would have been such fools as to allow Argos and Athens to become subject to Troy as the result of the contest, which was merely a prank.

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