Love, Envy, and Pantomimic Morality in Cicero’s De Oratore

Auteur: Zerba, Michelle
Titre: Love, Envy, and Pantomimic Morality in Cicero’s De Oratore
Revue/Collection: Classical Philology 97.4
Annèe edition: 2002
Pages: 299-321
Mots-clès: Rhétorique - Retorica - Rhetorics
Description: This article argues that De Oratore performs a “pantomimic” morality (the juxtaposition of envy and love- a form of morality that attempts to mask its awareness of advantage behind the ruse of love and service) and demonstrates how this morality is produced by a competition for preeminence despite values of undying love and service. Zerba develops this idea by summarizing and closely reading three instances in the dialogue that create or display tensions between the characters, paying close attention to the interplay of characters and their acceptance or rejection of each other’s claims, all the while reading such tensions in light of greater themes in the dialogue, love and envy, showing how the interaction of the characters in the text point to an unspoken morality. Her purpose is to reveal a meta-commentary laden within De Oratore that exposes the moral tensions of Classical Greek society as well as to offer another reading of De Oratore, as a dramatized social performance that is then able to perform an ideology it textually censures. Zerba initiates a scholarly relationship with those informed in the field of classical rhetoric, assuming a familiarity with both De Oratore as well as the current critical conversations which have surrounded the ancient piece, but provides enough summary and background that a scholar outside of the field may appreciate and understand her argument [Anderss9].
Sigle auteur: Zerba 2002