Homoioptoton (ho-mee-op-to’-ton): The repetition of similar case endings in adjacent words or in words in parallel position.
Note: Since this figure only works with inflected languages, it has often been conflated with homoioteleuton and (at least in English) has sometimes become equivalent to simple rhyme: “To no avail, I ate a snail.”
I was beginning to wonder why I wondered at all. If I answer my wonder’s call, as usual, I would go nowhere, get no answer, sit and stare, and eventually not care. I was determined to stop wondering, but as soon as I made the decision, I began to wonder. I couldn’t stop myself. I wondered about the weather. I wondered why my neighbor’s dog kept barking all the time. I wondered about snowflakes’ uniqueness. I even wondered about the price of tea in China! Then it hit me!
I had taken a philosophy course in college. Among others, we read Aristotle. I had just remembered a quotation from him that had relevance to my condition. Aristotle wrote: “Philosophy begins with wonder.” My endless wondering is the beginning of philosophy! I thought: if philosophy begins here, it is time to get started. I would write a philosophic dialogue featuring Plato and a gas-station mechanic. It is reprinted below.
The dialogue takes place in a gas station bay. There is a 1957 Chevy up on the lift. The garage mechanic is working on it. His name is Mr. Grunt. Plato has come to pick up his car, a robin’s egg blue 1960 Ford Thunderbird.
Plato: Hi Mr. Grunt. What are you doing?
Mr. Grunt: Hi Plato. I am replacing the muffler on this car.
Plato: Your tools look pretty nice.
Mr. Grunt: Yes, they are pretty nice.
Plato: Do you love them?
Mr. Grunt: Yes, I love them. They are bright and shiny and they enable me to make a living.
Plato: Do you have a wife?
Mr. Grunt: Yes. I love her and kiss her goodbye when I leave for work in the morning.
Plato: You have said you love your tools. Do you kiss them goodbye when you leave for home in the evening?
Mr. Grunt: No. I would never kiss my tools.
Plato: If you truly love your tools, you would kiss them, just as you kiss your wife, whom you truly love.
Mr. Grunt: Here are your car keys. Please pay what you owe me and leave.
Plato: Very well Mr. Grunt. Don’t forget to kiss your tools before you go home!
Mr Grunt: Kiss my ass.
The wonderings throbbing in my head are starting to abate. Now that I am a dialogue-writing philosopher, I can take on the Big Questions that have vexed me. Like, if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make sound? Or, what about the Cretan who tells us all Cretans are liars? Is he lying? Or, how many people make a band? Or, you can’t put your foot in the same river twice.
But I still wonder. I wonder why we fall in love. I wonder how many pickles make a clutch. I wonder where my blue sock is. I wonder why we use silverware. And of course: I wonder how much wood a woodchuck would chuck if he could chuck wood.
Tomorrow I will start writing a new philosophic dialogue between Plato and a police officer who pulled him over for doing 50 MPH in a school zone. I am thinking of having the police officer shoot Plato.
- A Kindle version of the Daily Tope is available on Amazon under the title The Book of Tropes.
Definition and commentary courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).