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Christ's Hospital Five and Thirty Year Ago" stages Elia's reinvention as a sophisticated schoolboy declaimer through the borrowed cultural capital of the real Lamb whose extensive extracurricular reading of seventeenth-century authors allows him to revive older forms of classical education in his periodical essays.
Lamb's Elia is a sophisticated schoolboy declaimer because he recovers the histories of grammar school exercises that the rote Christ's Hospital curriculum erases--from the ancient progymnasmata to the ornate Renaissance style of Browne--and uses these past rhetorical practices to address new audiences and situations.
Elia, as a schoolboy declaimer, turns a real controversy into an opportunity for rhetorical play.
By playing the schoolboy declaimer and recasting the conventions of rhetorical exercises, he transforms classical education into a "hopeful anachronism," a means of evaluating and responding to the political and economic changes of early nineteenth-century society.
But the main characters in The Queen of Corinth, The Double Marriage, and The Laws of Candy, through their varying kinds and degrees of deviation from an ideal of virtue, are formed with motivations and drives both complex and internally coherent; and the Controversiae stimulate this character-formation because they induce their participating declaimers, and hence our playwrights, to address the motives and drives of specific imagined selves.
The Controversiae underpin and abet this entire system, but for a great many of these characters--in fact, we find representatives in each category but the first--the source in Senecan declamation directly affects their depth and consistency; motives and drives are envisaged, and shaped to make sense, in light of the ethopoeia in or implied in the Controversiae and of the colores of Seneca's declaimers.
If she is to be attacked at all the declaimers must address two questions, one regarding colores and the other ethopoeia: her level of knowledge of her husband's plotting; and her level of devotion to him.
47-57)--Sesse though an aristocrat has about him that savagery with which the declaimers of Controversia I.
The declaimers, says Seneca, mostly agree that her intentions were not lustful or rebellious, but compassionate.