This online rhetoric, provided by Dr. Gideon Burton of Brigham Young University, is a guide to the terms of classical and renaissance rhetoric. Sometimes it is difficult to see the forest (the big picture) of rhetoric because of the trees (the hundreds of Greek and Latin terms naming figures of speech, etc.) within rhetoric.
This site is intended to help beginners, as well as experts, make sense of rhetoric, both on the small scale (definitions and examples of specific terms) and on the large scale (the purposes of rhetoric, the patterns into which it has fallen historically as it has been taught and practiced for 2000+ years).
If you'd like an overview of the entire "forest" of rhetoric, consult the "trees" (major categories) in the left frame.
If you'd like to look up specific terms of rhetoric, either scroll through the list of figures of speech (or "flowers" of rhetoric) on the right, or Search the Forest (above or here).
Cross-references throughout the website will help you see the relationship between, for example, a topic of invention, such as "comparison" and its related figures of speech, "metaphor," etc.
For students of rhetoric, literature, or communication, don't forget to look at the examples of Rhetorical Analysis (at the bottom of the "trees").
A forest is the metaphor for this site. Like a forest, rhetoric provides tremendous resources for many purposes. However, one can easily become lost in a large, complex habitat (whether it be one of wood or of wit). The organization of this central page and the hyperlinks within individual pages should provide a map, a discernible trail, to lay hold of the utility and beauty of this language discipline.
Don't be scared of the intimidating detail suggested by the odd Greek and Latin terms. After all, you can enjoy the simple beauty of a birch tree without knowing it is betula alba and make use of the shade of a weeping willow tree without knowing it is in fact salix babylonica. The same is possible with rhetoric. The names aid categorization and are more or less conventional, but I encourage you to get past the sesquipedalian labels and observe the examples and the sample criticism (rhetoric in practice). It is beyond the definitions that the power of rhetoric is made apparent.
Your input (contributions of examples, explanations, links, and bibliography, or your clarifications and corrections) is heartily welcomed.
Featured in the Scout Report, January 2, 1998