Aristotle's legendary treatise on speech explains and instructs on the powers of oratory to move and persuade people.
Composed amid the popular Greek culture, in which aspiring and reigning politicians would perfect the oratorical arts to influence voting and their subjects, Rhetoric is a summation of an art whose poignancy and power could change the face of an entire society.
Mindful of the distinctions to be made between speech with an emotional argument, and speech espousing a rational argument, Aristotle examines both while making further subdivisions. Together with the qualities essential in the actual speech, the philosopher also mentions the knowledge which all speakers aspiring to public office should hold ahead of giving speeches.
The ideals of his forebear and tutor Plato have a presence within Aristotle's works, and Rhetoric is no exception. Aristotle frequently alludes to how able rhetoricians should behave, and how their gifts should be put to best use in the service of the society and the state.
Other passages are concerned with emotional states relevant to the topic, with emotions such as envy and indignation examined. The means by which men imitate one another, and the various different characters of men, are also considered.
This well-composed translation of Rhetoric is by John Henry Freese, a Cambridge historian and scholar of classics who was a notable contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica.