|figures of amplification|
figures of speech
Amplification ("auxesis" in Greek and "amplificatio" in Latin) is a central term in rhetoric, naming a variety of general strategies as well as some very specific procedures or figures of speech.
Amplification as a scheme (an arrangement of words)
Amplification (auxesis) sometimes refers to arranging words or clauses in a sequence of increasing force. In this sense, auxesis is comparable to climax and has sometimes been called "incrementum."
Amplification as a change in connotation
Amplification as an emotional effect
Amplification sometimes names a desired effect (associated with the emotional appeal or pathos), which can be achieved through various figures or rhetorical strategies. It has also named the process of discovering or composing such emotionally charged passages.
Amplification as arrangement
Amplification deals generally with addressing the parts of any given communicative activity, and so to "amplify" a speech would be to address each element of its conventional arrangement. Thus, each of the parts of an oration can be considered a method of amplification, including those figures or strategies that are optional, incidental, or which further specify the parts of an oration. These include
Amplification as copia (a pedagogical process)
As such, amplification names an important point of intersection within rhetoric where figures of speech and figures of thought coalesce. That is to say, means for varying and repeating kinds of expression (figures of speech, or copia verborum) overlap with means for developing ideas or content (the figures of thought, or copia rerum).
Within the progymnasmata exercises, certain standard methods were suggested for amplifying subject matter within these practice orations, including the use of dialogue (sermocinatio) and various kinds of description (see Figures of Description).
Amplification of Thought or Subject Matter
Amplification can be considered synonymous with the entire activity of rhetorical invention, in that it can deal with developing material, coming up with something to say, by considering and employing various commonplaces or topics of invention. As such, all of the topics of invention can be considered means of amplifying (developing) an argument or a speech. Especially common as topics for amplification are
Figures for amplifying thought or ideas are many and have been grouped into such categories as figures of division, description, and reasoning:
Amplification as a Category of Figures.
The centrality of amplification to rhetoric is apparent in its use as a way of categorizing the function of many figures, especially when authorities have used amplification as a way of creating a third category of figures that lies between those of words and those of thought (See Figures of Speech and Thought). In other words, amplification is a way of understanding both narrow, local modes of rhetorical figuring and broader, content-oriented modes of rhetorical argument or overall effects.
Amplification as Vice
Amplification can also be considered en error, either by overtreating the subject matter (tautologia) or by using more words than necessary (see Stylistic vices and also Figures of Excess and Superfluity)
Sources: Aristotle 1.9.38-40 ("auxesis"); Erasmus, De copia