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Défendre l'indéfendable ? Les Eloges d'Hélène de Gorgias et d'Isocrate

Abstract : Archaic and classical poets are confronted with the question of Helen's responsibility in the Trojan War: to claim that she was present in Troy during the war presupposes that she was the cause of this conflict, which makes her responsible for the death of the heroes and the destruction of the city. Gorgias and Isocrates take up this question: they affirm that Hélène went to Troy and each proposes to praise her and show that she is unquestionably a positive figure. Both thus produce a paradoxical discourse about her. However, while Gorgias proposes an openly paradoxical praise, saying that it goes against the poets' words and Helen's bad reputation, Isocrates, on the contrary, announces that he praises a non-paradoxical subject, because Helen's value would be recognised by all. This thesis proposes to analyse the argumentation deployed by these authors (more precisely, the patterns employed and the progression of reasoning). Each discourse is studied separately: Gorgias' argumentation is analysed in a first part, while a commentary on Isocrates' praise occupies a second part of this study. Their approaches are compared in conclusion. This study brings to light three elements: the internal coherence of the argumentation of each praise, the positioning respectively adopted by Gorgias and Isocrates in relation to the poetic tradition and contemporary thinkers, and finally the stakes that this praise represents for them. Through the eulogy, Gorgias and Isocrates convey their reflections on philosophical, pedagogical or political subjects which concern their contemporaries, and both reflect on the questions of the function of discourse and the possibilities it offers to access a form of truth and to persuade.
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Léna Bourgeois. Défendre l'indéfendable ? Les Eloges d'Hélène de Gorgias et d'Isocrate. Littératures. Université de Lille, 2020. Français. ⟨NNT : 2020LILUH016⟩. ⟨tel-03271162⟩

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