Rhetorical Analysis I: Understanding Speeches

Great moments in history are often remembered from the great speeches of that time. To fully appreciate and interpret the meaning of a speech, it's important to understand the cultural and historical context.
Great moments in history are often remembered from the great speeches of that time. To fully appreciate and interpret the meaning of a speech, it's important to understand the cultural and historical context.
Analyzing the rhetorical situation of any communication requires understanding several interrelated elements: the speaker, the intended audience, the speaker's purpose, and the occasion or context of the speech.
Analyzing the rhetorical situation of any communication requires understanding several interrelated elements: the speaker, the intended audience, the speaker's purpose, and the occasion or context of the speech.
Aristotle's rhetorical triangle is a helpful place to start. Using the triangle helps to interpret the relationships among elements. Effective discourse responds to and is shaped by its specific rhetorical situation.
Aristotle's rhetorical triangle is a helpful place to start. Using the triangle helps to interpret the relationships among elements. Effective discourse responds to and is shaped by its specific rhetorical situation.
Deeper comprehension comes from analyzing the speaker's main thesis or argument; that is, the claims and evidence that support the persuasive message.
Deeper comprehension comes from analyzing the speaker's main thesis or argument; that is, the claims and evidence that support the persuasive message.
With rhetorical analysis, we examine the text of the speech to see how what it says and how it says it relate to the speaker's attempt to achieve a particular purpose, with a particular audience, in a particular time or context.
With rhetorical analysis, we examine the text of the speech to see how what it says and how it says it relate to the speaker's attempt to achieve a particular purpose, with a particular audience, in a particular time or context.
 

About this Assignment

In this assignment, you will:

  • Read, research, and annotate words, phrases, and textual references in a famous speech.
     
  • Research the rhetorical situation and the broader cultural, historical contexts of the speech, and explain how the rhetor responded to prevailing public opinions or concerns.