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Understanding The Meaning Of Rhetoric Essay

2417 words - 10 pages

The question of what is rhetoric and what does it do has been a question since stories were even being recorded. However, now there are multiply different scholars who believe that they understand what rhetoric is and how to use it. For someone to use rhetoric correctly they must first have a definition of rhetoric that either they have made to fit themselves or they find a previous definition that suits them. In order for me to become an improved rhetor and be able to rhetorical discuss and evaluate pieces of literature or speeches like General Douglas MacArthur’s Farewell address, I must first define rhetoric in how I understand it. Rhetoric is the art of persuasive speaking aimed to sway your audience in a direction that has been chosen by the rhetor. The way in which a citizen uses rhetoric can change over time. The need to argue the same problem is invalid so the need to use the same rhetorical situations is invalid. You can use rhetoric in a multitude of different areas within our life however; we must choose to use it for good or for evil. In order for rhetoric to still be used in speech today one of two things must be true. There must either be a Truth in life and rhetoric or the more likely choice, that rhetoric changes throughout time and situations. You are not trying to change someone’s mind about something however; you are trying to convince them that you are also correct. I will be using multiple pieces of works that are defining rhetoric to support my definition and finish by evaluating General Douglas MacArthur’s Farewell Address using my definition of rhetoric.
Aristotle believed that rhetoric is a skill habit of mind that is, in itself, morally neutral and can be used for good or ill. He believed that all men are born good and can choose to use rhetoric for good or for the use of evil. Aristotle believes that politics is where rhetoric is used daily and is inheritably good “the most sovereign and most comprehensive master science” (Aristotle 1094a-b). Aristotle believed that the use of rhetoric changes within different times and different environments. For example the rhetoric that a tobacco company uses for their advertisements is not the same rhetoric that is being used by a lawyer trying to argue that his client is innocent of all claims. However, the use of rhetoric can always change with the rhetor. The rhetor can decide to use his/her knowledge of rhetoric to use it for good or use it for bad. The use of rhetoric is not always good or bad it can change between people and between situations.
Within our reading of Edwin Black’s Second Persona we are faced with dealing with unwinding the speech of the rhetor. If you are not the one that is speaking the rhetoric or doing the rhetorical piece of work then it is very difficult for you to tell what the rhetor is truly saying. First we must unwind the piece of rhetoric just like you must unwind a strand of DNA before replication. In order for you to make...

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