Rhetorical Analysis

So what exactly is rhetorical analysis

What is Rhetoric?

Rhetoric is the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.

History of Rhetoric

Athens is credited the birthplace of rhetoric. Since every Athenian man had to stand in persuade people to vote against or for the legislation, rhetoric was very important. A man’s success and influence were based on his rhetorical abilities. Sophists opened school in 5 B.C. to teach rhetorical skills.


The Sophists traveled from city to city to teach men how to speak and debate. Isocrates and Gorgias were one of the famous schools. Students paid Sophist teachers tons of money to teach them rhetorical skills because these skills were important in the public life. As more and more people learned, rhetorical skills became popular withing the population.


In The Art of Rhetoric Aristotle defines rhetoric as “the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion."

Why do we study it?

Rhetoric is a fundamental building block of good education. Clear thinking, good argument, and logical discussion are essential to academic student success in any discipline and field. The more you understand how to criticize and analyze what you read and made your education stronger.

Rhetorical Analysis

A rhetorical analysis is an essay that breaks a work of non-fiction into parts and that explains how the parts work together create a certain effect- whether to persuade, entertain or inform.

Rhetorical Triangle

Our rhetorical skills can help us use the Rhetorical Triangle. The tool helps us focus on the three things that have the greatest impact on an argument:


-The Author


- The Message


-The Audience


The Author

The way in which the identity of the writer (or author) affects the argument is known as ethos.


The Message

The emphasis is on logic and reason, or logos. Your audience needs to be able to follow what you are saying for it to be believable.



The Audience

This part of the triangle is concerned with appealing to the emotions of the audience, which is known as pathos.


- Ethos - Building trust by establishing your credibility and authority (Author).


- Pathos - Appealing to emotion by connecting with your audience through their values and interests (Audience)


-Logos - Appeal to intelligence with well-constructed and clearly argued ideas (Message).


-Kairos is knowing what is most appropriate in a given situation. It is putting the right writing at right time.

Rhetorical Modes

Description- to detail what a person, place or object is like


Narration- to relate an event


Illustration - to provide specific instances or examples


Division - Classification - To divide something into parts or to group related things into categories.


Process Analysis - To explain how something happens or how something is done.


Comparison/ Contrast - to point out similarities and/ or dissimilarities


Cause-effect - To analyze reasons and consequences


Definition- To explain the meaning of a term or a concept


Argumentation - To win people over a to a point of view.