Paraphrase Tool


Updated Jan 23, 2023

Understanding the Rhetorical Device of Parecbasis: A Powerful Tool in Persuasive Communication

When it comes to effective communication, mastering the art of rhetoric can make all the difference. Rhetorical devices are essential tools that help convey ideas, engage an audience, and persuade them to adopt a particular viewpoint. One such device is parecbasis, a potent technique that we will explore in this article. Join us as we delve into the world of rhetoric and discover how parecbasis can elevate your persuasive communication skills.

What is Parecbasis?

Parecbasis, derived from the Greek word "parekbasis" meaning digression or diversion, is a rhetorical device where the speaker or writer momentarily steps away from the main topic to address the audience directly. It serves as a powerful tool for engaging the audience, building rapport, and establishing a connection. By momentarily shifting the focus away from the main argument, parecbasis aims to appeal to the emotions and beliefs of the audience, ultimately strengthening the speaker's position.

Examples of Parecbasis in Action

To better comprehend the impact of parecbasis, let's explore a few examples from notable speeches and written works:

Example 1: Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" Speech

In his iconic speech, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. employed parecbasis to establish a personal connection with his audience. He momentarily digressed from his main argument to address the audience's emotions and shared experiences:

"I say to you today, my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream... I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed."

Through this digression, Dr. King utilized parecbasis to evoke strong emotions and create a sense of unity among his listeners, reinforcing his call for civil rights.

Example 2: Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar"

In Act 3, Scene 2 of "Julius Caesar," Shakespeare employs parecbasis through the character of Mark Antony. After Caesar's assassination, Antony uses a digression to connect with the Roman citizens and sway their opinion:

"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."

Here, Antony diverts from his primary purpose of delivering Caesar's eulogy to directly address the crowd, appealing to their emotions and shared sense of loss. This use of parecbasis strengthens Antony's ability to persuade the Romans to question the motives of Caesar's assassins.

The Power of Parecbasis in Persuasive Communication

Now that we've explored some notable examples, it's evident that parecbasis plays a crucial role in persuasive communication. By employing this device, speakers or writers can achieve the following:

1. Captivating the Audience

Parecbasis captures the audience's attention by momentarily shifting the focus away from the main argument. This diversion creates intrigue and curiosity, encouraging the audience to actively listen and engage with the speaker's message.

2. Establishing Emotional Connection

By directly addressing the audience, parecbasis taps into their emotions and shared experiences. This connection enables the speaker to appeal to the audience's values, beliefs, and concerns, fostering empathy and building a stronger connection.

3. Reinforcing the Speaker's Credibility

Parecbasis allows the speaker to demonstrate their understanding of the audience's perspective and concerns. By acknowledging these factors, the speaker appears more relatable and trustworthy, reinforcing their credibility and increasing the likelihood of persuading the audience to embrace their viewpoint.

In Conclusion

Parecbasis, a powerful rhetorical device, offers communicators a valuable tool for enhancing persuasive communication. By momentarily diverting from the main argument to directly address the audience, speakers and writers can captivate their listeners, establish an emotional connection, and reinforce their credibility. As you embark on your own persuasive endeavors, consider incorporating parecbasis to elevate your communication skills and effectively sway your audience.


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