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Updated Jun 13, 2023

Understanding the Power of Commoratio: A Rhetorical Device That Leaves a Lasting Impression


In the realm of persuasive communication, mastering the art of rhetoric is essential. Rhetorical devices are powerful tools that speakers and writers can employ to capture their audience's attention, evoke emotions, and ultimately leave a lasting impact. One such device that stands out for its effectiveness is commoratio. In this article, we will explore the meaning and usage of commoratio, backed by accurate examples, to understand how it enhances persuasive communication.

What is Commoratio?

Commoratio, derived from the Latin word "commorari" meaning "to linger," is a rhetorical device that involves dwelling on a particular point or idea for emphasis. By repeating and elaborating on a central theme, commoratio reinforces the importance of the subject matter and underscores its significance to the audience.

The Power of Repetition

Commoratio relies heavily on repetition to create impact. By reiterating a point, phrase, or idea, the audience is more likely to internalize the message. Repetition helps to reinforce the main argument, making it more memorable and compelling.

For instance, in Martin Luther King Jr.'s iconic speech, he employed commoratio to emphasize the urgency of the civil rights movement: "Now is the time. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice."

Elaborating on Key Points

Another facet of commoratio involves elaboration or expansion on a central idea. By going into detail and providing additional information, the speaker or writer ensures that the audience fully understands and appreciates the significance of the subject matter.

Consider the following example from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address: "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here." In this sentence, Lincoln uses commoratio to elaborate on the impact of the soldiers' actions, emphasizing their lasting legacy.

Enhancing Emotional Appeal

Commoratio is also effective in evoking emotions and creating a strong emotional appeal. By repeating emotionally charged words or phrases, the speaker or writer can elicit a heightened response from the audience, making the message more persuasive and memorable.

One famous example of commoratio in literature can be found in Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar. In the funeral oration of Mark Antony, he repeats the phrase "Brutus is an honorable man" several times, gradually infusing it with sarcasm and irony. This repetition serves to intensify the emotional impact and ultimately turn the audience against Brutus.


In the realm of rhetoric, the power of commoratio cannot be overlooked. Its ability to amplify a message, reinforce key points, and evoke emotions makes it an invaluable tool for persuasive communication. By understanding and utilizing this rhetorical device effectively, speakers and writers can leave a lasting impression on their audience.

So, whether you are crafting a speech, writing an essay, or even engaging in everyday conversations, consider incorporating the artful technique of commoratio to make your words resonate and leave a lasting impact.

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