Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Classical Studies

Thesis Advisor

Dr. Alisa DeBorde

Committee Professor

Dr. Anita Simpkins


C.S. Lewis is unquestionably one of the more enduring influences in the 20th century, due in part to his personal popularity during his lifetime, as well as to his prolific and approachable oeuvre in wide-ranging genres such as apologetics, fiction, and public debate and address. Lewis has only become more popular since his death, with continued interest building after the more recent development of movie interpretations depicting both his fiction and life. C.S. Lewis’s corpus is certainly vast, and even more has been written about C.S. Lewis and his writings since his death. Strong scholarship exists, particularly in the areas of literary criticism and theological analysis; however, significantly less work has been done examining the rhetorical aspects of Lewis’s work. James Beitler, professor of English at Wheaton College, asserts, “However, in spite of widespread praise for Lewis’s persuasiveness as well as his own interest in the topic, only a relatively small group of scholars have turned to rhetoric—the study and practice of the art of persuasion—to understand Lewis’s corpus, and many who have done so have argued that we need more scholarship exploring how Lewis’s writings work rhetorically” (353). This gap between literary and theological analysis and rhetorical analysis is significant considering Lewis’s classical education and skillful use of the art of rhetoric. To begin to lessen this gap, in this paper, I will examine Lewis’ use of the rhetoric of myth through his final novel, Till We Have Faces, by comparing how he presents Orual’s judicial rhetoric with his own use of myth to persuade the reader of important truths about the roles reason and imagination play in spirituality, about identity, and about the nature of love. This comparison will illuminate Lewis’s beliefs on the limitations of direct persuasive rhetoric versus the natural working of the rhetoric of myth.