By Kenneth Burke
As critic, Kenneth Burke's preoccupations have been in the beginning in simple terms esthetic and literary; yet after Counter-Statement (1931), he started to discriminate a "rhetorical" or persuasive part in literature, and thereupon grew to become a thinker of language and human conduct.
In A Grammar of Motives (1945) and A Rhetoric of Motives (1950), Burke's perception of "symbolic action" comes into its personal: all human activities--linguisitc or extra-linguistic--are modes of symbolizing; guy is outlined because the symbol-using (and -misusing) animal. The critic's task turns into one of many examining human symbolizing at any place he unearths it, with the purpose of illuminating human motivation. hence the succeed in of the literary critic now extends to the social and ethical.
A Grammar of Motives is a "methodical meditation" on such complicated linguistic types as performs, tales, poems, theologies, metaphysical platforms, political philosophies, constitutions. A Rhetoric of Motives expands the sector to human methods of persuasion and identity. Persuasion, as Burke sees it, "ranges from the bluntest quest of virtue, as in revenues promoting or propaganda, via courtship, social etiquette, schooling, and the sermon, to a 'pure' shape that delights within the means of attraction for itself on my own, with no ulterior objective. And id levels from the baby-kisser who, addressing an viewers of farmers, says, 'I used to be a farm boy myself,' in the course of the mysteries of social prestige, to the mystic's religious id with the assets of all being."
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And this attitude of assent may then be transferred to the matter which happens to be associated with the form. Or think thus of another strongly formal device like climax (gradatio). The editor of Demetrius' On Style, in the Loeb edition, cites this example from As You Like It, where even the name o£ the figure appears in the figure: Your brother and my sister no sooner met but they looked, no sooner looked but they loved, no sooner loved but they sighed, no sooner sighed but they asked one another the reason, no sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy; and in these degrees they have made a pair of stairs to marriage.
In this version it lacks the three formal elements he is discussing: repetition of the same word at the beginning of each clause (epanaphora), sameness of sound at the close of each clause (homoeoteleuton), and absence o£ conjunctions (asyndeton). Hence there is no pronouncedly formal feature to which one might give assent. (As a noncontroversial instance of cumulative form we recall a sentence cited approvingly in one of Flaubert's letters: "They proceded some on foot, some on horse, some on the backs of ele-!
The causae (as with debates whether such-and-such a man had been guilty of such-and-such an offense meriting such-and-such punishment) brought rhetoric within the orbit of caruistry (thereby suggesting that an extension of the rhetorical range to cover al1 cases in their uniqueness would be in order, Cicero saying that there are as many causae as there are people). The general and the particular directions of rhetoric overlap insofar as al1 unique cases will necessarily involve the application of the universal topics to the particular matter at hand, and l l I 1 1 l 1 73 insofar as even situations considered very broadly may possess uniqueness.