A short essay (300-350 words, usually a little less than one page typed, single-spaced), in which you explain what the phrase, “the art of persuasion” meant to the classical Greeks.Since the time of the classical Greeks, one of the most common definitions for rhetoric is that it concerns “the art of persuasion.” For the Greeks, a technē (the word usually translated as “art”) included three things: “some theoretical understanding, some practical skill at carrying it out, and some experience with particulars to guide its application” (Sachs 30n1). Sophists claimed that they taught the “art” of words, or the “art” of rhetoric. Plato, on the other hand, dismissed what they taught as an “experience,” a part of “pandering.” According to this definition, do you think that there is an “art” to persuasion? Why or why not?Microthemes feature a small amount of writing preceded by a large amount of thinking, so you should think carefully about your answer before you start writing. That way, you will be able to explain your position thoroughly even in a very short essay. You should also base your answer on the course readings, rather than on our common understanding of “art” or on definitions that you find in other sources. Two good places to start are with the explanation that Sachs provides in a footnote (30) and with what Kennedy says about the relationship between an art, a skill and a knack (62-63). You may also find it helpful to look at what the other ancient writers, such as the historical Gorgias and Isocrates said, as well as Plato’s arguments in the dialogue Gorgias. You will most likely find it helpful to quote briefly from the course readings to support your claims, but most of the essay should be your original ideas.Writing strategies: Be sure to develop a clear thesis for your essay. Often, you will not be able to clearly frame the thesis until after you have begun (or even concluded) a draft of your essay, so be sure to leave time for revision. Revision is especially important when you are writing a short but dense essay. Remember, since you have to address the topic in a short essay, you shouldn’t write a long introduction or conclusion; usually a sentence will do. Be sure to support your claims by referring to the course materials, not to other websites or YouTube videos. Be sure also to write in academic voice that is neither pompous and formal nor conversational and chatty. Do not write in the second person (addressing your readers as “you”). Be very careful to document accurately and correctly. If you are referring to assigned course readings, you need only provide the author or title and page or line number (e.g. Kennedy 62; or Gorgias 464b2-d9). You should provide a reference for any other sources you choose to cite. Classical sources have a different citation form, which you can find here:
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