An Introduction to Parisosis

Parisosis is a parallelismOpens in new window in sentence structure in which two parts of the sentence are metrically equal and thus produce a figure that is almost comparable but not quite like antithesisOpens in new window.

In parisosis, the equality can be that of many small to few great things, and an equality of magnitude can be united with an equality of number. It usually comes in this form:

  • ‘either through lack of resources or through the magnitude of the war.’
  • (Looking closely in the sentence it is observable that these things are neither like nor opposed to one another, but merely equal to one another.)

Parisosis is a feature of sophistic style especially associated with GorgiasOpens in new window, who adds numerous verbal effects, such as rhyme, to emphasize the parallelism.

Examples of Parisosis
    Parisosis comes in form of balancing equal phrases or clauses as observable in the example below:
  • Living and dying belong to nature,
    and for humans, living is the result of advantageous things,
    whereas dying is the result of disadvantageous things.”
    Parisosis also make endings of phrases or clauses appear similar:
  • “If you must imitate the wording, you should simulate the feeling.”
Further Readings:
Aristotle, David C. Mirhady | Rhetoric to Alexander: Parisosis (Pg. 567) Opens in new window
Michael Gagarin | Antiphon the Athenian: Oratory, Law, and Justice in the Age of the Sophists: Parisosis (Pg. 90) Opens in new window