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The best tragic style

[Originally published at the now defunct group blog explananda.com]

Posted on June 30, 2006
Tags: aristotle
From Aristotle’s Rhetoric, III.3:
As for what Gorgias said to the swallow which, flying over his head, let fall her droppings upon him, it was in the best tragic style. He exclaimed, “For shame, Philomela!” For there would have been nothing in this act disagraceful for a bird, whereas it would have been for a young lady. The reproach therefore was appropriate, addressing her as she was, not as she is.