Vol. 21 (2023)

‘Bringing-before-the-eyes’: Aristotle and the activation of emotions in the Rhetoric

Cristina Viano
Université Sorbonne / CNRS

Published 2024-01-31


  • Aristotle,
  • Rhetoric,
  • 'bringing-before-the-eyes',
  • actualisation,
  • emotions


In Aristotelian psychology, the perception of painful and pleasant passions is essentially a matter of interpreting external stimuli – complex objects or events – by attributing a certain quality to them and representing an image capable of provoking pleasure or pain. In the Rhetoric Aristotle exploits
this fundamental feature of human psychology. He makes it a powerful tool of persuasion that consists in the ability to convey and ‘bringing-before-the-eyes’ of the listener a vivid image capable of arousing emotions in him.