The Rhetorical Situation

In “The Rhetorical Situation”, Lloyd F. Bitzer examines the notion of the rhetorical situation and provides evidence of why rhetoric is important.  Bitzer exclaims, “A rhetorical situation must exist as a necessary condition of rhetorical discourse, just as a question must exist as a necessary condition of an answer.”(6)  By comparing the rhetorical situation to a question, readers can understand that the situation is a necessary element in writing and analyzing.  Without it, there would never be a solution or understanding.  Bitzer tends to speak out on the rhetorical solution’s behalf, telling readers of it’s importance.  He speaks about the exigence, audience, and constraints; therefore, building up his credibility and announcing the essential and basic fundamentals in understanding the situation.  Rhetorical situations essentially exhibit structures which are simple or complex, and more or less organized.  They can be changed around all due to the writing or the author’ diction; therefore, understanding the rhetorical situation and everything that coexists within is essential in the writing process.  Bitzer states, “Rhetoric is distinguished from the mere craft of persuasion..”(14) which shows readers that in order to be the best writer you can be, you must fully understand the rhetorical situation, the theories, and overall comprehend Bitzer’s own persuasive piece as well.

“The Rhetorical Situation” is an extremely informative, yet persuasive piece.  Bitzer is attempting to “revive the notion of the rhetorical situation”(3) and share his knowledge on the specific information.  While I was reading this, I became intrigued with his diction and how he set up his writing.  He lists his details and numbers them, creating a list of information.  This was easier for me to read because I could sense the importance and value that Bitzer was trying to emit.  Bitzer appealed to the audience’s emotions (pathos) and built up his credibility (ethos) by utilizing specific speeches, like The Gettysburg Address and Cicero’s speeches against Cataline.  Readers that enjoyed those times in history could relate to what he was writing and better understand where the author was coming from.  Also, readers could believe the points he was proving by actually examining the speeches.  Overall, I enjoyed Bitzer’s piece and my knowledge was expanded on The Rhetorical Situation and the major importance and components too.  One question that I have is how can people make sure their rhetorical situation or question is sufficient or suitable for an argument?

In Emma Watson’s speech about feminism, Emma Watson shares her ideas on the topic of feminism and explains how she has become one.  Her exigence is gender equality.  She shares her views on why women should be paid the same amount as men and essentially treated the same.  Men and women are both humans in the world; therefore, deserving the same respect and pay amount.  Emma Watson’s audience is everyone in the UN, and overall anyone that is interested in the topic of feminism, especially other women that feel the same way and have the same views as herself.  Finally, the constraints of the speech is attempting not to be sexist and take favor in the female’s side.  Emma needed to preach equality, all while showing no favor.


3 thoughts on “The Rhetorical Situation

  1. I really like that you talked about pathos and ethos within Bitzer’s writing. I believe that a person has to strongly believe in what his rhetorical situation or question is in order for it to be sufficient for an argument because then he would fight for what he believes in. If one wasn’t passionate about what he is arguing about, then what is the point of him arguing?

  2. You have a great understanding of the main arguments presented by Bitzer. This summary made Bitzer’s essay easier to understand. To make sure a rhetorical situation is suitable for an argument, you can bring specific examples into your writing.

  3. I feel that your use of quotes throughout the summary was well done. It really brought the ideas of the paper together and exhibited them well. I also like the historical examples.

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