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  This section contains a compendium of 200+ brief audio and video clips illustrating 40 different figures of speech.

Most of these figures were constructed, identified, and classified by Greek and Roman teachers of rhetoric in the Classical period.

For each rhetorical device, definitions and examples (text, audio, video) are provided. Audio and video examples are taken from public speeches and sermons, movies, songs, lectures, oral interpretations of literature, and other media events.

Some artifacts have been edited further to make the devices easier to detect. In the interest of diversity, a range of voices and perspectives is included.



Top 10



Read, Listen, Watch to the Entire Figure

C.S. Lewis: "Mr. Whistler is asleep.  Now, from that action, I take it that he has no interest in what I have to say. The puzzle is, that being the case, why is he here at all? So, we construct a plot from Mr. Whistler's actions: he comes, he sleeps. Now, Aristotle would say that the next question is not why, but what is Mr. Whistler going to do next? [Mr. Whistler wakes up.] Good morning, Mr. Whistler. My class is not compulsory, neither are my chairs very comfortable."

Peter Whistler: "Alright, I'm going."

C.S. Lewis: "Thank you. He comes, he sleeps, he goes. So the plot thickens...."



Edward R. Murrow: "If they are right, and this instrument [TV] is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse, and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost. This instrument can teach; it can illuminate; yes, and even it can inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it's nothing but wires and lights in a box."


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Copyright 2001-2017. 
American Rhetoric.
Created by Michael E. Eidenmuller.
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