Comprobatio

An Introduction to Comprobatio (Rhetorical Device)

Comprobatio (also known as conciliatio; etymologically from Latin, literally means “full approval”), is the chief figure among the figures of ethosOpens in new window which consists when the speaker expresses approbation of a virtue, especially in the presence of the audience.

The trope is used when we deliberately extol the virtues of our audience, or, as PeachamOpens in new window precisely states, ‘when we see some good thing either in the judges or in the hearers or in any other. And therefore, declare we do well allow of it, and also commend them for it’.

A Classical Example
  • “But what may I, fair virgin, call your name,
    Whose looks set forth no mortal form to view,
    Nor speech bewrays aught human in thy birth?
    That art a goddess that delud’st our eyes
    And shrouds thy beauty in this borrow’d shape.”
  • (Christopher Marlowe, Dido, Queen of Carthage, 1.1.188)
Further Readings:
Peacham (1577); L2v.