ERIC Number: ED158334
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Dec
Reference Count: 0
The Wasps in Court: Argument and Audience in the Athenian Dikasteries.
Rodgers, Raymond S.
In an attempt to explain why Aristotle devotes a substantial part of Book Two of "The Rhetoric" to methods for arousing jurors' emotions, despite stating previously that such emotional appeal is nonessential and unethical, this paper examines the nature of the Athenian jury courts, or dikasteries. It first discusses the historical development and general nature of the Athenian jury system, noting that jurors, or dikasts, were often poverty-stricken old men who served as jurors because of the jurors' fees they earned. Next, to show the characteristics of the dikasts, the paper presents a passage from Aristophanes's play "The Wasps," along with statements from several commentators that support the conclusion that, although dikasts probably were prevented from taking bribes, their natures encouraged arguments characterized by appeals to prejudice, pity, and greed. The paper then examines argument in the dikasteries, citing commentators' statements that point to the prevalence in the Athenian courtroom of bitter speeches of accusation and impassioned appeals by defendants. The paper concludes that, although Aristotle would have preferred to avoid the use of pathos in the law courts, he recognized its necessity and efficacy with the men who made up the juries. (GW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Aristotle; Juries
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (63rd, Washington, D.C., December 1-4, 1977)