Elocution is chosen by the Rhetor with the audience in mind. You may consider it the clothing of the naked argument.

Low, Middle, High.

Poetic diction, didactic rhetoric, dialectic or speculative.


Born around 485, a native of Phlya, east of Hymettus.  He was famous by his death in 406.

Known for his association with the Sophist movement, he may have been prosecuted by Cleon for impiety.   A skepticism concerning the gods runs through his plays.

  • Alcestis
  • Medea -link to performance
  • Heacleidae
  • Hippolytus
  • Andromache
  • Hecuba
  • The Suppliants
  • Electra
  • Heracles
  • The Trojan Women
  • Iphigenia in Tauris
  • Ion
  • Helen
  • Phoenician Women
  • Orestes
  • Bacchae
  • Iphigenia at Aulis
  • Rhesus
  • Cyclops


Beginning well means capturing the good will, attention, and patience of your audience.

Pessimus certe gubernator qui navem, dum portu egreditur, impegit. – Quintilian

The first part of arrangement, or the exordium, is more aptly described by this name rather than ‘introduction’ since it should exhort our audience to hear us out.   Its purpose is not simply ‘to begin’, but is a necessary preparation and alignment for the material to follow.

Beginning well means capturing the good will, attention, and patience of your audience.  Typically we do this using a saying, a joke, or an anecdote. An excellent exordium may be developed from a question, as this tends to invite the audience into consideration of our topic.

Tactically, elements of the exordium should be developed last, as an ex tempore or spontaneous exordium will impart that quality to the rest of the speech.

Aristotle’s ‘Rhetoric’ discusses the Prooemium or Exordium in Book III, Chapter 14.

Quintilian in the Institutio Oratoria calls a faulty exordium ‘a face seamed with scars’ –  as part of a discussion in Book IV.

The Rhetorica ad Herennium (once thought to have been written by Cicero) discusses two types of introductions, the Prooimion and the Ephodos, one being direct, the other subtle.