What is rhetoric?

  • Rhetoric is the study of effective communication and the art of persuasion.
  • "'rhetoric' is any communication used to modify the perspective of others" (OWL Purdue).

What is the rhetorical situation?

Rhetorical Situation Video from the University of Maryland

What is a rhetorical analysis?

A rhetorical analysis states whether a textís argument is likely to be persuasive for its audience(s), and it explains how the textís argument functions to persuade the audience(s) (or how it fails to persuade).

In order to be effective, a rhetorical analysis must accomplish the following four goals: (1) identify & describe the intended and/or actual audience(s) of the text, (2) describe the context in which the argument and audience exist, (3) describe the rhetorically relevant features of the text, and (4) explain how the connections between the rhetorical features of the text, the attributes of the audience, and the context work together to make the argument persuasive.

A rhetorical analysis should include both a contextual perspective that looks at elements outside the text (e.g. audience, historical context, rhetorís identity and reputation, etc.) and a textual perspective that looks at parts of the text itself (i.e. the language and arguments it uses).