Procatalepsis is a forme of speech by which the Orator perceiving aforehand what might be objected against him, and hurt him, doth confute it before it be spoken, or thus: when the Orator putteth forth the same objection against himselfe, which he doth thinke his adversarie would, and then refelleth it by a reason, whereby he doth providently prevent him. Cicero: as if some Judge or commiissioner might say unto me, thou mightest have contended with a lighter action, thou mightest have come to thy right by a more easie and profitable way: wherefore either change thine action, or resist me not as Judge: or if he do prescribe after what sort I ought to sue for my right, to which objection he maketh this answere. Notwithstanding he seemeth either more fearfull then is reason a Judge should be: or else he dareth not judge that which is committed to him. Likewise against Verres, Cicero saith, that he knoweth some men will marvell, seeing so many yeares he defended many, and hurt none, he doth now come to accuse Verres, then he doth shew them that this accusation against Verres is a defence of their fellowes.
An example of Paul: “Thou wilt say then unto me, why then blameth he us yet? for who hath been able to resist his wil? But O man who art thou which disputest with God? shall the pot say to the potter, why madest thou me on this fashion?” Rom.9.
Another: “Some man will say, how arise the dead? with what bodies shall they come? thou foole, that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die.” 1.Cor.15.
The use of this figure.
This forme of speech doth properlie belong to confutation, & is
also an ornament which greatly enricheth the oration with a
2. It causeth attention & expectation.
new encrease of matter, & occupieth the mind of the hearer aswel with the consideration of the objection going before, as with attention and expectation of the answere following.
1. Curious and vaine objections.
The principall pointes and partes of warning in the use of this figure are these: First to take heede of curious and vaine objections. Secondly of weake and unsufficient answeres: for it is an
easier matter to move hard objections, then to make sufficient solutions: and the Orator committeth a great absurditie when he maketh an objection which after he is not able to answere: wherby he sheweth his adversaries strength, and his owne weaknesse.