I Felt a Funeral in My Brain Epideictic Rhetoric

The Classical Model: Praise/Blame (Epideictic Rhetoric… from the Greek επιδεικτικός)

Epideictic rhetoric is ceremonial oratory or writing that centers on either praising or blaming an individual, artist or other entity. Aristotle tells us that epideictic rhetoric is concerned with virtue and vice and that the components” of virtue are “justice, courage, self-control, magnificence, magnanimity, liberality, gentleness, practical and speculative wisdom” or “reason”. Vice is, obviously, the opposite of those virtuous actions.

TASK: For this paper in this class, you will compose a piece of epideictic rhetoric that either praises or blames an author or character from one of our works.

  • When inventing your essay, carefully consider your audience. At the TOP of your paper, I want you to identify your intended audience.
  • After you have chosen your subject and intended audience, compose a paper that addresses the praise and/or blame of the subject at hand.
    • What great good (or evil) has the subject accomplished?
    • What lessons should your audience learn from this?
    • Why should we remember this character?
    • You should back up your argument with evidence from the play or story; this means you should refer to specific passages to bolster your argument. These passages should be cited properly using MLA format.

This is the basic outline for the assignment:

P1- Introduction: an ice breaker, presents the situation/ thesis at the end of the paragraph that introduces the individual who is worthy of praise or blame.

P2- Narration: provide an overview of the work(story, poem or play).

P3- Confirmation: here you either praise or blame the character for some action committed. This should be presented with evidence from the literary work.

(The Confirmation may be more than one paragraph)

P4- Refutation: counterarguments/address the fact that everyone may not agree with your opinion

P5- Conclusion: having proved that your praise or blame is correct, what can you challenge the audience to do about it? What should the audience learn from the situation?


*No sources are required beyond the textbook, but if sources are used, they must be documented.

* All papers must be typed, double spaced, with standard 1-inch margins in 12 point font.

*1st person is acceptable, but consider 1st person plural for much of it (we, our, us)

* The final paper should be a minimum of 1000 words and

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