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An Introduction to Hymos

Hymos is a figure which consists in the use of humourOpens in new window, comedyOpens in new window or any unnatural means to rouse laughterOpens in new window. It depends heavily on IronyOpens in new window and AnesisOpens in new window (or other related figures) to stir the audience to a response of amusement or laughter.

This device cannot be found anywhere in the classical archives of Rhetoric, because the Rhetoricians of the past realized the foolishness of such means. It produces nothing of valuable support to an argumentOpens in new window. Its use has only recently been employed in order to break the ice, so to speak, between an audience and the speaker. It works like an Anesis of thought and should be avoided in most circumstances. — (Gregory T. Howard, Dictionary of Rhetorical Terms)

A Notable Example

‘There are two muffins sitting in an oven, the first one turns to the other and says, “Wow! It’s really getting hot in here.” The other muffin, in surprise, responds, “Ahhhh! A talking muffin!’

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