This Christmas I plan to ask a woman to marry me. We’ve been dating for two years, and I’m 99% sure of success, but want to do this thing right, rhetorically speaking. Any advice?
As the great orator Gorgias (we call him “Gorgeous”) would say, it’s best to drug her. Not through drugs per se, but through figures of speech. That’s how Paris talked Helen into the affair that launched those thousand ships.
A great figure for the occasion is the anadiplosis, the build-on figure, which begins each new clause or sentence with the words that end the previous one, e.g.:
“The more I’ve come to know you, the more you’ve become a true friend. And the more you’ve become a friend, the more my love grows. And the more it grows, the more I want it to continue to grow forever. Will you marry me?”
Trust Figaro. Say it with an absolutely straight face, with utter sincerity, and your beloved—along with romantic immortality—will be yours.