previous next


Aporia is a forme of speech by which the speaker sheweth that he doubteth, either where to begin for the multitude of matters, or what to do or say, in some strange and doubtfull thing. Cicero for Roscius; Of what shall I first complaine O Judges? or where shall I first begin? Of what or of whome shall I call for helpe, of the immortall gods, or of the Romane people? or shall I most pitifully crave your defence, who have the highest authorie?

Another example of the same Author: whether he tooke them from his fellowes more impudently, gave them to an harlot more lasciviously, removed them from the Romane people more wickedly, or altered them more presumptuosly, I cannot wel declare.

Sometime the speaker useth many doubtes, together, thus: Where shall I seeke? where shall I search? whom shall I aske? Which way shall I go?

Sometime he doubteth what word to use. I know not what to terme it, folly or forgetfullnesse, ignorance or wilfulnesse.

The use of this figure.

This figure most properly serveth to deliberation, and to note
1. To deliberate
the perplexitie of the minde, as when a declaration is necessarily required, and the knowledge either through multitude of
2. To signifie perplexitie.
matters, or ambiguitie of things can direct nothing, or say very litle.

The Caution.

1. Too many doubts.
We ought in the use of this figure to take heed that we put not too many doubts or to doubt where there is litle need,
2. Needlesse doubts.
or none at all, lest the speaker sheweth himself to be very simple,
3. Tokens of ignorance.
ignorant, or very forgetful, according to the saying: Qui dubitat aut miratur, nescire videtur.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: