What is Rhetoric?
Rhetoric is the art of speaking and writing that persuades and inspires an audience in order to change certain beliefs or opinions.
Rhetoric persuades an audience with the usage of diction with the intention of articulating something in an eloquent manner; by using specific diction, words and phrases can be perceived a certain way. However, effective rhetorical speech cannot be accomplished with words alone, but with the way it’s spoken. It is important to consider the type of audience you are talking to in order to achieve the sole purpose of rhetoric.
The purpose of rhetoric is to inspire even the most adamant minds, to give in to the opinion that the speaker is proposing. For example, the intention of a rhetorical question is not to leave an awkward silence between the speaker and the audience, but rather to leave the audience pondering with that question. If the speaker asks the audience, “What do you want to do with your life?” the speaker is not expecting an answer, but instead a reaction.
Patterns of rhetoric include: examples, definition, comparison and contrast and sequence of events. Writers will include examples in which the audience can relate to and to gain authenticity of the issue addressed. Definition is used to ensure that the audience knows what the author is talking about; often, the arguments contain unfamiliar subjects. Comparison and contrast stresses the pros and cons of a subject; when the audience is aware of the differences between certain things, it is better to develop an opinion. If done effectively, the audience will abide in the opinion that is being addressed by the writer. Sequence of events help capture the motive of the writer’s words. If events are out of sequence, this can confuse the audience and may lose their attention. Essentially, rhetoric allows you to persuade people into attaining new perceptions of certain topics if done effectively.
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