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‘When you are speaking in reply, you should first mention the arguments against the statement on the other side, by refuting that statement and drawing up counter-syllogisms, and especially if the arguments on the opposite side are well received; for just as the mind refuses to open itself favourably to one who has been made the victim of prejudice, the same applies to oratory also, if your opponent is held to have made a good speech’.

‘You must therefore as it were make room in the hearer's mind for the speech that is about to be made, and this will be effected by getting out of the way your opponent's speech’ (with which the minds of your audience are pre-occupied).

‘Hence you should establish the credibility of your own case, by first contending either against all or the most important or the most popular or the most easily refuted of the adverse arguments’. As an instance, Aristotle refers to the lines in the Troades of Euripides, beginning with 969, the first line of Hecuba's lengthy reply to Helen's speech in her own defence; then follows a line καὶ τήνδε δείξω μὴ λέγουσαν ἔνδικα. After this, in a passage beginning with the lines ἐγὼ γὰρ Ἥραν παρθένον τε Παλλάδα οὐκ ἐς τοσοῦτον ἀμαθίας ἐλθεῖν δοκῶ, she disposes of Helen's weakest argument first, an argument which Euripides, like a skilful rhetorician, has placed in the middle of Helen's speech, lines 932—5, νικᾷ Κύπρις θεὰς, καὶ τοσόνδ᾽ οὑμοὶ γάμοι ὤνησαν Ἑλλάδ̓, οὐ κρατεῖσθ̓ ἐκ βαρβάρων.

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