De sermone figurato quaestio rhetorica : Per un' ipotesi di pragmatica linguistica antica
In ancient time the art of disguising intention in the absence of parrhesia became the subject of a singular theory, the theory of figured speech. We all know by experience that often outright, direct expression is not only more dangerous than 'indirect' or simulated speech, but usually less effective. Ancient rhetoricians were so aware of this aspect of the reality of language that in the 4th century B.C. elaborated a specific theory on it. They explored the language possibility of doubling the meaning of an utterance at the time it is spoken, so that a discourse that directly and apparently communicates something, may indirectly and secretly communicate something else. This indirect or covert meaning is carried out by the specific pragmatic context where the (figured) discourse is performed, and not by the discourse in itself. Therefore figured speech lies on purely pragmatic factors: real intentions of the speaker, the social and psychological dynamics between speaker and audience, pragmatic context, pragmatic effect on the audience etc. For this very reason our phenomenon created so much difficulty from a theoretical view. The rhetorical theory of figured speech is one of the most controversial theories since ancient times. The main idea developed in this thesis is that the original notion of figured speech highlighted and emphasized a purely pragmatic phenomenon, the indirect speech act in the illocutionary force. For this reason it introduced a new perspective to the language and the determination of speech meaning, a purely pragmatic one. This new perspective inevitably entered into contrast with the traditional semantic perspective, upon which the entire system was structured.