Vituperation or invective is "a composition expository of attendant evils"
and is a companion to the previous exercise, encomium.
It also compares to the Commonplace exercise,
but differs in speaking against not general vices or types of persons,
but a specific individual. As the encomium, the vituperation includes
as subjects chiefly persons, but also can take up things (such as abstract
ideas), times (as the seasons), places, or animals.
Directions for Composition
Attack a person or thing for being vicious. After composing an exordium
(introduction), follow these steps:
- Describe the stock a person comes from:
- what people
- what country
- what ancestors
- what parents
- Describe the person's upbringing
- instruction in art
- training in laws
- Describe the person's deeds, which should be described as the
- his/her evils of mind (such as weakness or indiscretion)
- his/her evils of body (such as plainness, lethargy, or lack
- his/her evils of fortune (as lack of or corruption of high
position, power, wealth, friends)
- Make a disfavorable comparison to someone else to escalate your
- Conclude with an epilogue including either an exhortation to your
hearers not to emulate this person, or a prayer.
Cicero's invectives against Antony, like those of Demosthenes against
Philip of Macedon, are good examples of vituperation.