Shakespeare for Lawyers: Rhetorical Power in the Courtroom - Part 3

30 Nov , 2023

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While it’s true that the quote, “Let’s kill all the lawyers” came from the stroke of Shakespeare’s pen in Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2, there are many things that we, as lawyers, can learn from the Bard.

Remarkably, the lawyer who stands before a jury finds himself in the very same position as that of a Shakespearean actor: he or she must rely exclusively on their words, their voice, and their bodies, including their gestures and their mannerisms, to tell the story.

It should come as no surprise that audiences back in Shakespeare’s day had a sharp ear for listening. However, in today’s age of smart phones, electronic devices, and short attention spans, everything about progress has taken us further and further away from being expressive with our words. Look no further than hashtags, emojis, and text messages with abbreviated words that we need our kids to help us decipher. 

In the twenty-first century, we face the challenge of marrying the Elizabethan tradition with our modern tradition. In marrying these two traditions, this presentation will extend beyond the Bard and explore those techniques used by great wordsmiths from songwriters to storytellers and orators whose voices and words resonate with truth. Buckle up and get ready for a wild ride.

 

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