An Introduction to Commiseratio
Commiseratio (etymologically from Latin, literally “the stirring of pity”), is a specific part of a discourse by which the speaker excites emotion unto the audience; specifically as a resort to arouse their pity upon the matter at hand.
Ágnes HellerOpens in new window observes that commiseratio is “the motive which prompts us to social action; ‘putting ourselves in the other man's place’ becomes the psychic point of departure for social compassion”
— (Renaissance Man, 2015).
- “In the case of commiseratio, appeals for pity, Cicero is more elaborate than the author of Ad Herennium, and solemnly enumerates no fewer than sixteen different themes. Both authors however end with the advice not to linger too long on the appeal to pity. …”
— (M. L. Clarke and D. H. Berry, Rhetoric at Rome: A Historical Survey, 3rd ed. Routledge, 1996)
— (President Barack Obama, election night victory speech, November 7, 2012)