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Ornateness

 

Disciplines Argument > Virtues of Style > Ornateness

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Use decoration and elaborations within your words that impress and delight your audience.

Use figures of speech (similies, metaphors, etc.) to stimulate and connect with other ideas.

Lengthen sentences that weave and turn simple words into beautiful garments of eloquence.

Example

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116

Discussion

Ornateness is, to a large extent, the opposite of Clarity, although both are created with the audience foremost in mind. The difference is in the intent and, to some extent, the audience.

The intent of ornateness is either to delight or to impress. The audience may simply enjoy the words alone, regardless of who is speaking them (such as in a theatrical performance). The goal may also be to impress the audience not so much with the words but of the speaker (or writer) who presents them. In changing minds this may well be a useful step along the way to establish credibility, though excessive decoration that intends only to seek approval quickly loses its appeal.

Vices of ornateness appear either in flat, lifeless style or crass decoration that lacks eloquence and flow. Beginners and those who have reached a low plateau tend to be clumsy in their usage of words, either using the wrong words (such as Malapropism) or creating an overly ornate text wherein the meaning becomes lost.

See also

Five canons of rhetoric

 

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