Importance of Rhetorical Theory in Communication
“What do you think about Rhetorical theory? Do you think, it’s something essential for our speaking, something we can’t do without?” – that was the start of my writing this essay, the first question that aroused in my mind, when I started it. Why should I write about the thing I even can’t feel, touch or taste. Is it really so important? Before reading some works and watching some videos in the light of Rhetorical theory, I couldn’t find in my head the answer to this question. So... I started to ask parents, friends and nobody could give me a definite answer. As a result the start of my work was much more than pessimistic. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend your lectures on that subject, and in fact, I’ve never paid so much attention to that subject. I didn’t know what to write about. But watching the links you had sent us, I found out that there was something that is really good to know, to learn and to use in our everyday life. Aristotle defines the rhetorician as someone who is always able to see what is persuasive. We can say that if we learn the “science” of Rhetoric we’ll be able to persuade people. But do we really need this? In my opinion, when a person hears that he/she will have the capacity of persuading anybody of anything, what thoughts appear in his/her mind? I think not only good one. So this capacity can be used both for good and bad purposes, it can have great benefits as well as great harms. Aristotle himself considers it useful, but is it really so? Being 21 years old, and having studied at our faculty for almost 5 years, I know for sure language is a weapon. As any other weapon it should be kept in good hands. Trying to learn the most important points of Aristotle’s Theory I can say that it’s great, interesting, though written hundred of years ago, modern, exciting and I can continue the list of epithets. I really want to learn the art of speaking; I think I lack this capacity. While reading, many times I asked myself why, so to say, “bad hands” learn the ability of this “weapon” so quickly? In the last several weeks I studied the works of two scientists – Aristotle and Kenneth Burk – on the question of Rhetorical Theory. A “pioneer” in this sphere we can call Aristotle, of course. I always admire theories, methods that can work out for centuries. That’s really a factor, that a person discovered something revolutionary. His great contribution to the study was done by his trilogy Rhetoric. In these books scientists usually point out two main divisions. The first division consists in the distinction of Three Means of Persuasion. As we know, speech consists basically of three things: the speaker, the subject that is touched in the speech, and the listener to whom the speech is addressed. According to Aristotle that’s why only three means of persuasion are possible: 1) In the character of the speaker,
2) In the emotional state of the hearer,
3) In the argument itself.
The second division concerns the three species of public speech. The first species is defined as deliberative species. Here belong speeches that take place at some meetings, assemblies and so on. In this species the speaker either advises the audience to do something or warns against doing something. Accordingly, the audience has to judge things that are going to happen in the future, and they have to decide whether these future events are good or bad for the community, whether they will cause advantage or harm. As an example of this kind of speech I can call a well-known address of the 32nd President of the US, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to the members of the 77th Congress. I think that’s an excellent example, because this speech is full of the elements – metaphors, retrospectives into the history of the USA, possible outcomes in different situations – all this press exactly on necessary points. The second species is judicial species. By the name we can understand that it concerns speeches...
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