An Introduction to Dialogismus

Dialogismus (derives from the Greek word ‘dialogos’, literally a “conversation” or “dialogue”; also known with the epithet “the right reasoner”), is a figure by which the interlocutor or a person speaks in another person’s character; putting his/herself in the place of another, so as to both understand and express that person’s disposition.

Dialogismus is tied to the general rhetorical idea of decorumOpens in new window; in the sense that it also involves finding suitably words that suits the personality of the person being imitated. Dialogismus may also be the description of natural propensities, manners, affectaion, virtues, and vices of another.

Dialogismus Examples

Examples of these instances occur in “The Murders in the Rue MorgueOpens in new window,” in which the Watson-like narrator made us aware that one of Auguste Dupin’s methods of detection is to achieve identification with the mind of his opponent – whoever is involved in the crime under question. Like the analytical draughts player, Dupin as analyst “throws himself into the spirit of his opponent, identifies himself therewith” (4:147). Dupin put up this behaviour in order to ascertain what actions the sailor will take, and thus provides an instance of dialogismus:

  • He will reason thus (He says to himself): — ‘I am innocent; I am poor; my Ourang-Outang is of great value – to one in my circumstances a fortune of itself – why should I lose it through idle apprehensions of danger? Here it is, within my grasp’.”

Another example exists in “The Mystery of Marie RogetOpens in new window,” when Dupin attempts to identify with the thought processes of Marie:

  • We may imagine her thinking thus — ‘I am to meet a certain person for the purpose of elopement, or for certain other purposes known only to myself. It is necessary that there be no chance of interruption’.” (5:44)
Important Hint! 

Dialogismus again, is the deliberate imagination of a speech suitably to a particular character in order to construct a pseudo speech—a speech the character under scrutiny would have said.

Further Readings:
Silva Rhetoricae: Dialogismus Opens in new window
Brett Zimmerman — Edgar Allan Poe: Rhetoric and Style; Dialogismus Opens in new window