This is the body of topicality for a persuasive essay or speech. Following the exordium, it tells us enough, but not too much, of the fundamental issues of the matter at hand.
Sometimes the Narratio is translated as “The Statement of Facts”.
Quintilian’s Institutio Oratia, in Book III Chapter 4 begins a discussion on Indefinite questions as leading to the definite. We may consider this as the development of a Thesis that encompasses an Hypothesis.
Following discussions of Status would appear to develop the Narratio in the following way:
- The case that something is so. A proposition must be made, usually in the affirmative that a thing exists.
- This thing must be somehow defined, either by a recourse to the 4 causes, a narrative structure, an example. etc.
- That this thing is somehow good or bad. In most deliberative/ and therefore hypothetical rhetoric, this gives us the basis for the final stage. Here we have a last chance to demonstrate a theoretical conclusion as we prepare to move into the special nature of our work. Another way of thinking about this is that we have settled the ‘General’ question here, before we move on to the ‘Specific’. The hear of our Thesis resides here. This ends the ‘Theoretical’ part of our narratio. (We may reply to this later in our Amplification).
- We move here into the specific, or hypothetic realm of our presentation. It has two parts concerning action:
- What is possible to do (or think).
- What we will do (or think).
Additional work on the Narratio includes decisions on brevity and necessary length for thoroughness. Refer to Quintilian in Book IV.