Week 3 Workbook Activity – Reflect on Rhetoric

Below are some of the key points that Aristotle1 makes about rhetorical speech.

1. Writers say nothing about enthymemes, which are the substance of rhetorical persuasion, but instead deal mainly with the non-essentials.

2. Rhetorical study, in its strict sense, is concerned with modes of persuasion.

3. The orator’s demonstration in general is the most effective mode of persuasion. This is because persuasion is clearly a sort of demonstration and we are most persuaded when we consider a thing or element to have been demonstrated.

4. Whether the argument concerns public affairs or some other subjects we must know some, if not all, of the facts about the subject on which we are to speak and argue on.

5. When making a rhetorical speech a person must study the production of persuasion, its style and language and also the argument of the speech.

6. Persuasion in every case must be effected by working with emotions, giving the right impression of the speaker’s character and providing truth about the statement made.

7. The use of rhetoric is useful because things that are true and other that are just have a tendency to prevail over their opposites.

8. Some people fail to instruct with trying to hold an argument therefore modes of persuasion are used. However, orators must be able to employ persuasion.

9. Rhetoric is not bound up by a single definite class of subjects but as universal as dialectic.

10. We look upon rhetoric speech as the power of observing the means of persuasion on almost any subject.

11. There are three kinds of modes of persuasion in rhetorical speech which include; personal character of the speaker, putting the audience is to a certain frame of mind and proof based on the words of the speech.

12. Persuasion is achieved by the speaker’s personal character when the speech is so spoken to make us thing that the speaker is credible.

13. These are also three means of effective persuasion in rhetorical speech. The orator or the person in charge must be able to reason logically, understand human character and goodness in every form and also understand emotions. These include elements such as youthful, young, prime, wealth and power. They must be able to name emotions, describe them, and know their causes and the way in which they are excited. Some of these emotions include anger, calm, friendship, eminenty, fear, shame, pity, indignation, envy and emulation.

14. There are two oratorical arguments that are common in rhetorical speech these include; example and maxim. Example comes in two varieties which include the mention of past facts or the invention of facts by a speaker which generally refers to the use of fables. Maxim is generally for the more experienced speaker where they use a statement not a particular fact. For example; have some sons taught more wisdoms than their followers.

15. Rhetorical speech falls into three divisions determined by three classes of listeners (three elements of speech making) speaker, subject and the person being addressed.

16. From this there are three divisions of oratory; political, forensic and ceremonial oratory of display.

17. There are three propositions of rhetoric speech; complete proofs, probabilities and signs.

18. In term of rhetorical speech, the person in charge needs to practice their delivery. Loudly, softly or somewhere in between voices; low high or intimidate pitch.

19. The style of a rhetorical speech, to be good, must be clear. Speech which fails to convey a plain meaning will fail to do what a speech is meant to do. It also must be appropriate avoiding the meanness and undue evaluation. It also should show correctiveness of language. This includes the proper use of connecting words, calling things by their own special names and not by the vague general ones, to avoid ambiguities, observe Protagoras classification of nouns into female, male and inanimate and to express plurality, fewness and unity by the correct wording.

20. Language must be composed of nouns and verbs and will generally be appropriate if it expresses emotion and character. It also should correspond to the subject.

21. The introduction is a tool which is used to pave the way for what is to follow and usually subject to some praise or censure.

1Aristotle 1994, Rhetoric”, Aristotle http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/rhetoric.mb.txt (accessed 20 July, 2012).


Aristotle 1994, Rhetoric”, Aristotle http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/rhetoric.mb.txt (accessed 20 July, 2012).


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