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3. The kinds of Rhetoric are three in number, corresponding to the three kinds of hearers. For every speech is composed of three parts: the speaker,
the subject of which he treats, and the person to whom it is addressed, I mean the hearer, to whom the end or object of the speech refers. [2] Now the hearer must necessarily be either a mere spectator or a judge, and a judge either of things past or of things to come.1 For instance, a member of the general assembly is a judge of things to come; the dicast, of things past; the mere spectator, of the ability of the speaker. [3] Therefore there are necessarily three kinds of rhetorical speeches, deliberative, forensic, and epideictic.

The deliberative kind is either hortatory or dissuasive; for both those who give advice in private and those who speak in the assembly invariably either exhort or dissuade. The forensic kind is either accusatory or defensive; for litigants must necessarily either accuse or defend. The epideictic kind has for its subject praise or blame.

[4] Further, to each of these a special time is appropriate: to the deliberative the future,2 for the speaker, whether he exhorts or dissuades, always advises about things to come; to the forensic the past, for it is always in reference to things done that one party accuses and the other defends; to the epideictic most appropriately the present, for it is the existing condition of things that all those who praise or blame have in view. It is not uncommon, however, for epideictic speakers to avail themselves of other times, of the past
by way of recalling it, or of the future by way of anticipating it.

[5] Each of the three kinds has a different special end, and as there are three kinds of Rhetoric, so there are three special ends. The end of the deliberative speaker Is the expedient or harmful; for he who exhorts recommends a course of action as better, and he who dissuades advises against it as worse; all other considerations, such as justice and injustice, honor and disgrace, are included as accessory in reference to this. The end of the forensic speaker is the just or the unjust; in this case also all other considerations are included as accessory. The end of those who praise or blame is the honorable and disgraceful; and they also refer all other considerations to these. [6] A sign that what I have stated is the end which each has in view is the fact that sometimes the speakers will not dispute about the other points. For example, a man on trial does not always deny that an act has been committed or damage inflicted by him, but he will never admit that the act is unjust; for otherwise a trial would be unnecessary. Similarly, the deliberative orator, although he often sacrifices everything else, will never admit that he is recommending what is inexpedient or is dissuading from what is useful; but often he is quite indifferent about showing that the enslavement of neighboring peoples, even if they have done no harm, is not an act of injustice.3 Similarly, those who praise or blame do not consider
whether a man has done what is expedient or harmful, but frequently make it a matter for praise that, disregarding his own interest, he performed some deed of honor. For example, they praise Achilles because he went to the aid of his comrade Patroclus,4 knowing that he was fated to die, although he might have lived. To him such a death was more honorable, although life was more expedient.

[7] From what has been said it is evident that the orator must first have in readiness the propositions on these three subjects.5 Now, necessary signs, probabilities, and signs are the propositions of the rhetorician; for the syllogism universally6 consists of propositions, and the enthymeme is a syllogism composed of the propositions above mentioned. [8] Again, since what is impossible can neither have been done nor will be done, but only what is possible, and since what has not taken place nor will take place can neither have been done nor will be done, it is necessary for each of the three kinds of orators to have in readiness propositions dealing with the possible and the impossible, and as to whether anything has taken place or will take place, or not. [9] Further, since all, whether they praise or blame, exhort or dissuade, accuse or defend, not only endeavor to prove what we have stated, but also that the same things,
whether good or bad, honorable or disgraceful, just or unjust, are great or small, either in themselves or when compared with each other, it is clear that it will be necessary for the orator to be ready with propositions dealing with greatness and smallness and the greater and the less, both universally and in particular; for instance, which is the greater or less good, or act of injustice or justice; and similarly with regard to all other subjects. We have now stated the topics concerning which the orator must provide himself with propositions; after this, we must distinguish between each of them individually, that is, what the three kinds of Rhetoric, deliberative, epideictic, and forensic, are concerned with.

1 All three kinds of hearers are regarded as judges (the mere spectator as a “critic”), although strictly κριτής should be limited to the law courts.

2 In 1.6.I and 8.7 the present is also mentioned as a time appropriate to deliberative Rhetoric.

3 The omission of οὐκ before ἄδικον has been suggested. The sense would then be: “As to the injustice of enslaving . . . he is quite indifferent.” There is no doubt a reference to the cruel treatment by Athens of the inhabitants of the island of Melos (416 B.C.) for its loyalty to the Spartans during the Peloponnesian war (Thuc. 5.84-116). The Athenian envoys declined to discuss the question of right or wrong, which they said was only possible between equal powers, and asserted that expediency was the only thing that had to be considered. The question of justice or injustice (in the Melian case entirely disregarded), even when taken into account, was merely accessory and intended to serve as a specious justification for the policy of might.

4 To protect his body and avenge his death (Hom. Il. 18.).

5 The expedient, the just, the honorable, and their contraries.

6 ὅλως: or, reading ὅλος, “the syllogism as a whole.”

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