Friday is for rhetoric! We continue summarizing Quintilian’s work on oratory. It seems common for people in our time to dismiss rhetoric. “Oh, that’s just rhetoric, there’s no truth in it.” Granted, rhetorical skills can be used to stir up a crowd and push a decision which is not based on reality or sound opinion. But that’s not the work of an orator. That’s what an actor does.
Quintilian, and J.S. Watson. Institutes of Oratory. Edited by Lee Honeycutt, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition. Book I Chapter 11
In this chapter Quintilian compares the training of the orator and of the actor. “Some time is also to be devoted to the actor, but only so far as the future orator requires the art of delivery” (Quintilian I.11.1). The budding orator should not be trained to imitation or to being taken captive by the art of an actor. “If there is any art used by speakers in these points, the first object of it should be that it may not appear to be art” (Quintilian I.11.3). Most of the emphasis is on pronunciation and projection. Also the posture and gesture should match the message (Quintilian I.11.8). The recommendation Quintilian gives is to pick passages from drama which resemble rhetorical arguments. Learning to deliver these will be “efficient in fostering eloquence” (Quintilian I.11.13). Quintilian cites various leaders and states in which the training to leadership included drama and dancing.