Rhetorical Theory Of Communication

This sample essay on Rhetorical Theory Of Communication reveals arguments and important aspects of this topic. Read this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion below.

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.

Main Idea Of Rhetorical Theory Of Communication

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.

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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, ) 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 that one can hear in a court. The speaker either accuses or defends somebody. Naturally, this kind of speech treats things that happened in the past.

The audience or rather jury has to judge whether a past event was just or unjust, according or contrary to the law. In this species the right use of means of persuasion play a great role, I think. What I mean is that a lawyer should arrange and explain these past events in such a way, so that jury believes they’re just. So the level of knowing these means can sometimes turn a guilty person into an innocent one. And Hollywood provides us with a number of such examples. To my mind the best movies, where we can observe a brilliant usage of the Language are The Devil’s Advocate and Law Abiding Citizen.

And lawyers sometimes use the third species of public speech that is epideictic. It praises or blames somebody; it tries to describe things or deeds of the respective person as honorable or shameful. While the deliberative and judicial species have their context in a controversial situation in which the listener has to decide in favor of one of two opposing parties, the third species does not aim at such a decision. Aristotle wrote his books centuries ago, but it’s still very up-to-date. The second theory was written in the 20th century. So it’s really very modern.

Its author is language expert Kenneth Burke. Unlike Aristotle, whose means of persuasion were based only on verbal elements, Burke included nonverbal elements into his theory. Its main points are that any message in the language can be analyzed with the help of “Dramatistic Pentad” – that is the name which Burke gave to his method. To this method one very famous quote is appropriate: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players! ” Burke said that we choose words because of their dramatic potential, and that we each have preference for particular parts of the pentad.

These elements of the pentad are: scene, act, agent, agency and purpose. Scene is a situation, the place where the action of the act occurs, something like a container that include occasion, event, time. Some people believe that changing the scene changes everything else. Act explores what happened, what took place or what someone consciously did. Agent is the person or group of people who perform the act. Agency is the technique or method by which the agent achieves their goals. Purpose is the reason that the agent acts, the outcome they are seeking from what they do.

Sometimes it’s obvious and in the open, at other times the agent’s purpose may be covert and hidden. Burke also noted how you can understand the message by observing how pairs of these elements interrelate in ratios (scene-act, agent-agency, purpose-act and every other combination available). I would like to show how this method works on one message that has made a great impression on me. So this message is The Montana Meth Project. I can say for sure that The Montana Meth Project is one of the greatest campaigns that have ever taken place in the history.

This campaign was developed by Tom Siebel, a retired billionaire who applies marketing techniques to social problems. Right these techniques are of great interest to me. The reason for this project was the destructive influence of methamphetamine epidemic in Montana. People will say that every region has the problem of drugs, why should we call it epidemic. But it really was this. Almost 50% of young population of Montana was meth users. The most shocking for me was the fact that only few in the state knew about this problem.

But still, why should we call it epidemic? Before answering we should know what “epidemic” is. Collins Dictionary says the following: a rapid development, spread, or growth of something, especially something unpleasant. That’s it. Taking drugs means not only use of them. We should always keep in mind that drugs cause other “unpleasant” things: robbery, murders, prostitution, health problems and it’s not the full list. The community is ill. It needs help. For Montana this help came. Tom Siebel chose the best way to help the state – to show the truth.

Besides direct active social work with the target population (12- to 17-year-olds in Montana who have never taken drugs) marketing methods of the campaign included shock-ads, short videos that show the horrible, destructive influence of meths on the appearance, health, private and social life of the addicted person. The campaign’s slogan is ‘‘Not Even Once’’ and its goal is to discourage young people from trying the drug. The campaign has received both praise and criticism for its techniques. I would like to show how Burke’s Theory works on the example of these shock-ads.

The most shocking for me were three of them Bath Tub, Parents and Boyfriend. Bath Tub shows a teenager preparing to go out in the evening. While showering she sees blood and a naked meth user crouching beside her. We understand that this meth user is this girl in her future as a meth addict. Parents shows a teenager violently trying to enter his locked home with his frightened parents huddle inside. As he screams and bangs on the door, the voice of his pre-meth self tells how he gets along with his parents and how they trust him. The episode “Boyfriend” depicts us young lady, a meth-user who has to prostitute for money.

While her client gives money to the boy, she says: “I love my boyfriend so much, he does everything for me”. This cruel, on the one hand, and true-to-life videos, on the other, persuade us very good that we shouldn’t try drugs Not Even Once. If to look at them in the light of the Dramatistic Pentad, we can name the following elements: the agent is a teenager; the scene includes places and situations in which a teenager may find him/herself; the act is using meth –either doing it or not. The purpose is choice, being an independent person by deciding between two acts.

The agency is being able to see both options. If to see at the project in the light of the theory of persuasion, we can point out several elements that strengthen the effect of persuasion: 1. The project has a well-defined target population. 2. Creators use such sources of persuasion that will definitely work. 3. There are dramatic before-and-after shots of meth users to show the drug’s devastating physical effects. Though the project was sometimes badly criticized, it has its positive outcome: the meth use considerably dropped and as result the number of crimes dropped, too.

Teenagers started to realize that using drugs is “uncool”. There were attempts to replicate this project in other states, but there is a problem. Such campaigns need great funding. Government doesn’t have enough money to do it. In the history of the US there were other remarkable anti-drug campaigns. For example, Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign. It took place in the time of Reagan’s presidentship. There were used similar ways of persuasion. The most interesting thing for me was, that this project was used in the whole country. And once the first lady even tried to make it international.

The second interesting thing is that in their videos besides teenagers, who were saying NO to drugs, sometimes included famous people. They also said NO on TV, they so to say gave good example. There also were written several songs for the support of this campaign. In the end, I want to say that now I know the answer to the question I started with. Rhetoric is an important part of our life. We should now what and whom and when to speak. Ancient and modern scientists did tremendous work. There a number of different theories, that can help us to achieve our goals. We just should learn them and then nothing is impossible.

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Rhetorical Theory Of Communication. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-essay-importance-rhetorical-theory-communication-2/

Rhetorical Theory Of Communication
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