Sweet Smoke of Rhetoric

Robin Williams • i Read Shakespeare • Inernational Shakespeare Center Santa Fe

Coming soon: Sweet Smoke of Rhetoric: the art of persuasion, or more specifically, the art of informing, persuading, and motivating readers or an audience, a political assembly, a royal court, a jury, a nation. If you already thought Shakespeare was a great writer, then understanding more fully how he uses the ancient art form of rhetoric to create a visceral response in the reader will put you in even greater awe.
     If you yourself are a writer or a poet, we hope you are familiar with rhetoric! If not, let Shakespeare teach you a few things in this short introduction to the remarkable impact of rhetoric.

The course includes:

• An overview of the history of rhetoric and its importance to the Elizabethan world.
• A brief introduction to the classic canons of rhetoric (invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery) so you see the art form in its original context.
• The top twenty rhetorical devices most often used by Shakespeare (each with an amazing name!).
• Multiple examples of these rhetorical figures in Shakespeare's works.
• Discussions of the intended effect of the device.
• Resources for further interest.

The term rhetoric today has an unpleasant connotation, one of insincerity and manipulation. This is unfortunate because until quite recently using rhetoric effectively was an honored and esteemed skill, and when you see how brilliantly Shakespeare plays with it, you will also admire this skill.