Senior Course - 14 yrs and up, $175.00, 14 week course– Prerequisite: One Intermediate level course
In the Rhetoric Aristotle states that, “It is absurd to hold that a man should be ashamed of an inability to defend himself with his limbs, but not ashamed of an inability to defend himself with speech and reason; for the use of rational speech is more distinctive of a human being than the use of his limbs.” There is no doubt that Rhetoric has been used in the World’s greatest speeches in order to persuade man to fight and believe in a cause. This class will explore many of the world’s greatest speeches and judge them through the light of Aristotle’s Rhetoric and through their own merits. What makes a speech great, even once the time for action has passed? How does one know when Rhetoric is being used for a good cause?
The Speeches studied in the course reach from Ancient Greece, to Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, and the 40th Anniversary of D-Day. It will cover speeches from the World Wars, the Abolition of the Slave trade, and include a Nobel Peace Prize Speech.
Students will be asked to read, listen to and recite the speeches in preparation for each class in order to appreciate the difference between the written and spoken word and the interpretation of the speaker. Students will be given the chance to recite portions of the speech in class and the opportunity at the end of course to write their own speech.
Week 1 - The Rhetoric by Aristotle Selections
Read: Rhetoric Selections
Week 2 - Pericles, “Funeral Oration”
431 BC; Athens
Read: Funeral Oration
Listen: Funeral Oration Pericles
*Note the Speech from Librivox includes a description of the funeral also. This is useful for context.
Week 3 - Socrates, “Apology” 399 B.C.; Athens, Greece
*For those interested in hearing how it sounds in Greek*
Week 8 - William Wilberforce, “Abolition Speech” May 12, 1789; House of Commons, London
Read: Wilberforce Abolition Speech
Week 10 - Winston Churchill, “Blood, Sweat, and Tears” May 13, 1940; House of Commons, London
Read: Blood, Sweat, and Tears
Listen: Blood, Sweat, and Tears
Winston Churchill, “We Shall Fight on the Beaches” June 4, 1940; House of Commons, London
Read: We Shall Fight on the Beaches
Listen: We Shall Fight on the Beaches
Winston Churchill, “Their Finest Hour” June 18, 1940; House of Commons, London
Read: Their Finest Hour
Listen: Their Finest Hour