Renaissance And Enlightenment

Topics: Rhetoric, Italy, Humanism Pages: 8 (2040 words) Published: December 29, 2014
Devin Golden
18 November 2014
Professor Z
Rhetorical Perspective


The Enlightenment and Renaissance era's. Two completely different era's as far as time periods, but actually similar in how they developed rhetoric. These two era's focused a lot on education to develop, and used past rhetorician's views, and philosophies to do so. The Enlightenment era focused a lot on argumentation.

This period was about an intellectual change going on in the world. According to, enlightenment was, a philosophical movement of the 1700s that emphasized the use of reason to scrutinize previously accepted doctrines and traditions and that brought about many humanitarian reforms.

During this period of intellectual change in the world, Rhetoricians studied themes, like expression, and the standards of proof for arguments (pg 184). Vico, theorized to the Renaissance, and even went further back to Cicero.Yet, people like Sheridan, wanted to raise the status of the English language. Blair and Kames wanted to grow the appreciation for British literature, and Campbell wanted to give the appropriate insights of English philosophy (pg 170). Yet, Britain, during this time was growing as an empire in the world, and wanted to be recognized for its language and institutions they made, to be equal to all of Europe.

George Campbell interest in the scientific site of rhetoric of a humans mind, is close to Plato's speculations about psyche in which each part gives out its own rhetoric (pg. 184). Whately saw that rhetoric would be the center of arguments. He felt that rhetoric would dominate in arguments that involved concerns and skills (174).

Belletristic Movement's, however, were interested in the language of rhetoric, much like Gorgias and Longinus. The 18th century sees rhetoric at the head of educational concerns.
Going through chapter 8 of the textbook, it appears that rhetoric really never died out. It just evolved into the next phase that it was needed in. Yet, we see still, that rhetoric is still studied just as the people in greece used it. It has become apparent that no matter how rhetoric changes, people still use rhetoric as it was intended. These people are just merely trying to find ways to enhance its abilities so it can be used throughout the country, and be shared with others.

Warnick argues that rhetoric shifts from producing public discourse, to enhancing its consumption (pg. 184). Rhetoric, during the time of the renaissance, was used as a subject of study (pg 160). During this period, rhetoric was how people were educated. There was a movement known as the Italian Humanism, that helped with rhetoric's influence between 1300 and 1750 (pg150). Rhetoric was given attention by important figure like, Petrarch and Valla. Due to their attention to this subject it grew the status of rhetoric immensely, because of their status in society. These people used rhetoric as a way to argue against philosophical thinking.

Going back to Humanism; it mixed principles from Christianity. It led to a search for new education. They ended up using rhetoric as a way to question the "status quo" (153). Petrarch, was one of many figures during the renaissance, who used rhetoric to refine culture. Rhetoric raised to a place of high importance by humanists because of what rhetoric was capable of doing. It gave the potential to give new insight and it was able to preserve future values (160).

Due to Cicero's findings, Petrarch was big in liberal arts, and the life of political involvement. Rhetoric was able to help form an effective government during the renaissance.
The renaissance, was probably the most important time for rhetoric. It was at its peak and used by public figures everywhere. There was never a greater time for rhetoric because it was used in importance, such as education, probably the most important subject of all. Also, as the book states, rhetoric was used in more political terms like...

Cited: Whately: Elements of Rhetoric. (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2014, from
The Importance of Marcus Tullius Cicero - The Imaginative Conservative. (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2014, from
Nordquist, R. (n.d.). Enlightenment rhetoric. Retrieved November 15, 2014, from
Herrick, James A. The History and Theory of Rhetoric: An Introduction. 3rd ed. Boston: Allyn and Beacon, 2005. 167-186. Print.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Essay about Renaissance
  • Essay on Comparison of the Renaissance and Enlightenment.
  • The Enlightenment Essay
  • The Enlightenment Essay
  • Essay on The Enlightenment
  • Enlightenment Essay
  • The Enlightenment Essay
  • The Renaissance Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free