Guide to Literary Terms

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What is oratory?

Oratory is the art of formal public speaking, particularly in an evocative and persuasive manner.

Oratory

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Last Updated on December 2, 2021, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 110

Oratory - the rendering of a formal speech delivered on a special occasion, characterized by elevated style and diction and by studied delivery. Sometimes the term simply means an eloquent address.

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The term is from the Latin orare, meaning “to pray.”

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An example of oratory is found in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, when Mark Antony speaks to his countrymen about his slain friend:

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Latest answer posted May 29, 2012, 7:27 am (UTC)

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Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears

I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

The evil that men do lives after them;

The good is oft interred with their bones;

So let it be with Caesar . . .

Act III, scene ii : lines 75 – 79

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