Final Rhetorical Criticism Paper

Topics: Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry S. Truman, Rhetoric Pages: 8 (2591 words) Published: August 20, 2012
The categories that are used most in this speech are pathos, logos and aesthetic choices/stylistic choices. These three are the most important ones because they are the ones that backed up his warning and proved his point. Aesthetic choices/stylistic choices drilled the message into the listeners and made his speech stick with them for a long time while pathos made it a personal matter and logos made the decisions that would come from a speech at least seem rational. He chose these because he knew that Americans were proud. They would not stand to see their country fall to anything. He also knew that they would listen if they understood what was being said. They were effective choices because they were being used in the most useful way that they could be. They were put to good use without misusing them and therefore making them ineffective.

In this paper I will use the method of criticism called Neo-Aristotelian criticism. I will begin with an explanation about the method and a justification for using it. Then, I will use the method to analyze Eisenhower’s farewell address. Finally, I will conclude this paper by explaining whether or not Eisenhower’s speech was a success or failure. Explanation of Methodology

There are two main questions that Neo-Aristotelian criticism is revolved around – (1) Did the speech evoke the intended response from the immediate audience? And (2) Did the rhetor use the available means of persuasion to achieve the desired response? There are three steps that are used to answer these questions – (1) Examine the context surrounding the rhetorical artifact, (2) Analyze the piece of rhetoric and (3) Determine the impact of the rhetoric on the audience and how this relates to the rhetor’s choices of persuasion.

Step one involves understanding the situation of the location where the speech was given. By understanding the context and situation it can be understood the way that the rhetoric is shaped.
Step two is the analysis of the artifact. To analyze the piece Aristotle’s five classical cannons are used to evaluate the effectiveness of a speaker.
The first cannon is invention which includes Aristotle’s three basic modes of persuasion. These three modes are logos, ethos, and pathos. The first cannon can be applied to this speech to identify the persuasive techniques that were available and therefore were used in President Eisenhower’s speech.

The second cannon is arrangement of the speech. Since there are many different ways to organize a speech the way that a speech is organized helps make the point and goal of the speech understood better. The second cannon can be used to analyze the organization of the speech in order to determine the effectiveness of the persuasive techniques used by Eisenhower.

The third cannon is the style of the speech. This analyzes the rhetorical devices and word choices. It also analyzes how effective they were in persuading the audience. The third cannon can be applied to analyze the different elements of style and rhetorical devices that were used throughout the speech.

The fourth cannon is the delivery of the speech. It is how the speech was given and the critic judges how the presentation affected the goal of the rhetor. The fourth cannon cannot be applied because I was not a member of the audience and cannot know how the way the speech was given affected the goal of the speech. This cannon is not used because I was not physically there to see him deliver his speech, so I cannot judge how the presentation of the speech affected his goal.

The fifth cannon is memory. This deals with the speaker’s knowledge of the material. It is seldom used because most rhetors do not memorize their speeches. The fifth cannon cannot be applied because President Eisenhower probably did not memorize his farewell. This cannon is not used because I was not physically there to see him deliver his speech and most rhetors do not memorize their speeches. Step three ties steps one and...
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