Epitrope


Epitrope (e-pi’-tro-pe): A figure in which one turns things over to one’s hearers, either pathetically, ironically, or in such a way as to suggest a proof of something without having to state it. Epitrope often takes the form of granting permission (hence its Latin name, permissio), submitting something for consideration, or simply referring to the abilities of the audience to supply the meaning that the speaker passes over (hence Puttenham’s term, figure of reference). Epitrope can be either biting in its irony, or flattering in its deference.


You tell me, “How many roads must a man walk down before they call him a man?” “How many people dey hustle?” “How many mothers have to cry?” “How many shots can you take?” “How many Instagram videos you gonna play back?”

I’m tired of the questions. I’m tired of the answers. You tell me what the hell it all means! You tell me! The streaming indignities. The obstinate memes.

The grist pours out of the Hell Mill. We bake ourselves into cakes and loaves of bread and go stale in the darkness. Do YOU care about what it all means? Contemplate the horizon you’ve set for yourself. Is the sun rising or setting? Are the trite lullabies you ply yourself with keeping you awake? Are your hopes actually fears? Put yourself in some rich guy’s Birkenstocks and run away. They’ll fly off your feet like two birds. Tell me what this means and I’ll give you a ticket to ride.

Tell me!


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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