Image from page 124 of "A natural system of elocution and oratory : founded on an analysis of human constitution, considered in its three-fold nature--mental, physiological and expressional" (1886)
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NT OF OTHERS. Contempt, Sneering and Defiance.—We come nowto a peculiar class of feelings, which have an elementof self-estimation or pride, but yet derive their mostessential character from influences outside of, butaffecting self. These emotions are called by variousnames but they are essentially the same; there is anelement of wounded pride, and a desire to return re-tribution upon the offender in them all. They areemotions highly oratorical. The arguments of an op-ponent may be dismissed effectually by a sneer of thelip or a look of contempt. To give the impressionthat what has been said by an opponent against thecause which the speaker advocates is worthy only ofscorn and contempt has a great influence upon an SELE-REOARmNG EMOTIONS. 113 audience. Men in general have a natural pride intheir intelligence, and they are readily moved toabandon a cause which appears weak and insignifi-cant. This feeling is very powerful in the minds ofmen, especially when congregated together. They
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Contempt. are prone to consider that the attention of all presentwill be concentrated upon them, and that a poor es-timate of their intelligence will be formed by many ifthey are known to support principles which are worthyonly of scorn. To avoid this they will be careful toexpose only those measures which are free from ricli- 114 ELOCUTION AND ORATORY. cule, and such principles as a speaker may treat withcontempt will be accepted with caution. CONTEMPT. Contempt is the minds retributive estimateof bad actions. The causes of contempt arevarious; they generally spring, however, fromwounded pride. A man moving in high station fullof wealth and honors may feel a contempt for thosebeneath him especially if an inferior wounds his dig-nity. Criticism of our actions or abilities by an in-ferior may arouse this feeling in our breasts. Pride,vanity and self-promotion stimulate this passion. Language.—The language varies in the expressionof this emotion according to the cause or nature ofthe
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