Pathopoeia ( path-o-poy’-a): A general term for speech that moves hearers emotionally, especially as the speaker attempts to elicit an emotional response by way of demonstrating his/her own feelings (exuscitatio). Melanchthon explains that this effect is achieved by making reference to any of a variety of pathetic circumstances: the time, one’s gender, age, location, etc

My heart aches alternately with more pain and less pain, but never no pain. This is what it means to have a broken heart. I should be past this now, enjoying my retirement, my children and grandchildren. Yet my heart aches. I am old, too old for the pain. I do not know what to do about the endless pain, but you can pray for me–pray for the end of my pain, still living, and possibly enjoying life with its ups and downs. In the meantime, I will quietly suffer; old and presently broken.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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