Erotema (e-ro-tem’-a): The rhetorical question. To affirm or deny a point strongly by asking it as a question. Generally, as Melanchthon has noted, the rhetorical question includes an emotional dimension, expressing wonder, indignation, sarcasm, etc.
I can’t believe we haven’t decided where to go for vacation yet. What is wrong with Piney Butte? Why is Piney Butte so far out of the question? People forget. We haven’t there for ten years. What’s a little embarrassment compared to the fun we can have there—hiking, swimming and boating in the lake, and building a bonfire the appropriate distance from our cabin. I never could’ve predicted what would happen that night. Do you think history repeats itself? Do you think we’re doomed to burn our cabin to the ground again? Ha! No way! Why don’t you take a deep breath and think about it. What are the odds? Probably a million to one.
Raise your hand if you want to go to Piney Butte. Ok, Good. Let’s start packing and I’ll book us a cabin right by the lake. I’ve got to go the gas station first and fill my gas can. We’ll need something to get the bonfire started. I can’t wait.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).
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