Erotema

Entertainment / Literature / Erotema: (also called erotesis) Asking a rhetorical question to the reader, i.e., 'What should honest citizens do?' Often the question is asked in order to get a definite answer from the reader--usually, 'no,' as J. A. Cuddon suggests. The erotema often implies an answer, but usually does not provide one explicitly. Examples include Laertes' rant about Ophelia's madness, when he asks, 'Do you see this, O God?' (Hamlet 4.5). American politicians still make use of this technique in debate, as evidenced by Senator Edward Kennedy's arguments before the senate concerning the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968: How can the poor feel they have a stake in a system which says that the rich may have due process but the poor may not? How can the uneducated have faith in a system which says that it will take advantage of them in every possible way? How can people have hope when we tell them that they have no recourse if they run afoul of the state justice system?

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