Bdelygmia is a Greek word that translates to “filth” or “nastiness”. It emerged in ancient Greece around the 6th century and helped people to manage physical violence instead of resorting to verbal violence. It is popularly used in literature to express heated emotions such as hatred, anger and /or criticism. It uses very strong language that is aimed at the target audience.
Characters that use Bdelygmia tone appear abusive and angry, as well as verbally violent and commanding. For literal writings, this tone has been used in political plays by writers like Shakespeare to instigate discourse between opposing political groups. This is well observed in social media sites especially when people feel dissatisfied and angered by the instruments of power. If used wrongly, this tone of speech in social media can be attributed to the increasing cases of cyberbullying and can cause great mental harm to the target victim.
In classical rhetoric, Bdelygmia is used by the author or narrator to emotionally move their audience so that they may feel the same emotions. This makes the author seem intolerant and offensive and having abhorrence and hatred towards a person or deed. If used extremely wrongly, people may find the narrator unpleasant.
The use of this literature is still evident even in today’s political landscape as most politicians use rhetorical violence in politics when campaigning or pushing their agenda. They try to paint a negative image of the opposition party or group and try to persuade people to believe their propaganda and dismiss that one of the opposing party. In America, this is very evident by the Republican and Democrats opposing and dismissing talks fueled by the email scandals, America’s position in the Middle East war among other issues.
In the musical scene, this type of expression is mostly popular among hip-hop artists who curse a lot when they are expressing their disgust. An example of this can be heard in Eminem’s song, “Legacy” and Mockin’ Bird’’.
Activists and environmentalist have also used this figure of speech to express disgust towards unhealthy products. For example, anti-abortionists portray those who support abortion as human killers and murderers with no regard to the sacredness of human life. Health activist, on the other hand, try to make cigarette manufacturers and smoke look terrible by describing smoking as “a horrible habit which not only pollutes our environment but also poisons our children”
There are myriads other cases where Bdelygmia, as a literary stylistic device, is used. However, what stands out is the extremity of the feelings and emotions it conveys, especially to those people on whom the action, speech or deed is directed.