fable mythos
The Progymnasmata    All   Next Exercise

Students were given a fable, typically one of Aesop's, which they would amplify and abbreviate. Or, they would write a new fable in close imitation of Aesop. It was specifically recommended that students turn indirect discourse into direct discourse.


This example comes from Hermogenes' treatise on the progymnasmata. He first gives the "bare narrative," followed by his amplification employing dialogue:

"The monkeys in council deliberated on the necessity of settling in houses. When they had made up their minds to this end and were about to set to work, an old monkey restrained them, saying that they would more easily be captured if they were caught within enclosures."

Thus if you are concise; but if you wish to expand, proceed in this way.

"The monkeys in council deliberated on the founding of a city; and one coming forward made a speech to the effect that they too must have a city. "For see," said he, "how fortunate in this regard are men. Not only does each of them have a house, but all going up together to public meeting or theater delight their souls with all manner of things to see and hear."

Go on thus, dwelling on the incidents and saying that the decree was formally passed; and devise a speech for the old monkey.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
Please cite "Silva Rhetoricae" (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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