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Rhetorical Devices

AP English Language

Christina Pierce

on 9 October 2015

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Transcript of Rhetorical Devices

What is a Rhetorical Device?
a technique that a speaker uses to convey to the audience a meaning with the goal of persuading him or her towards considering a topic from a different perspective
Study the definitions and the examples for the quiz. You will need to look for these devices in every piece of rhetoric we study from now to the end of the course.
The Rhetorical Appeals
The three elements to the art of persuasion as defined by Aristotle:

They are the most commonly used rhetorical devices
ethical appeal

Means convincing by the character of the author. We tend to believe people whom we respect.

A speaker is using ethos whenever he is trying to establish respect or "win over" the audience. It's when the speaker tries to explain why you should believe what he says.
- means persuading by the use of reasoning through the use of facts, figures, or a logical process.
Means persuading by appealing to the reader's emotions.

Language choice affects the audience's emotional response, and emotional appeal can effectively be used to enhance an argument.
Rhetorical Devices
Good luck!
Other rhetorical devices
Other rhetorical devices are found not in appeals, but in how the speaker uses language to portray their message.
The use of irony in rhetoric is primarily to convey to the audience an incongruity that is often used as a tool of humor in order to deprecate or ridicule an idea or course of action.
For Example:
Abraham Lincoln was giving a speech about a political adversary and used irony when he said:
"[He] dived down into the sea of knowledge and come up drier than any other man he knew."
A metaphor is a comparison without using "like" or "as"
In rhetoric, the use of metaphor is primarily to convey to the audience a new idea or meaning by linking it to an existing idea or meaning with which the audience is already familiar.
Stylistic Elements
of Rhetoric
Just like everyone has their own sense of style, speakers have their own style of using their words.
Looking for elements of style, or how a speaker creatively uses words and phrases, is another way to analyze a piece of rhetoric.
Repetition of the same sound beginning several words or syllables in sequence
et us go forth to
ead the
and we
Brief reference to a person, event, or place (real or fictitious), or to a work of art
"Let both sides unite to head in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah..."
JFK alludes to the Bible, more specifically, the book of Isaiah in his inauguration speech.
is very different than
. Allusion refers to something, however
means a thing that is or is likely to be wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses. An illusion is like a hallucination or a mirage.

It's definitely not used in rhetorical texts!

Remember, finding an
with an
will probably get you an A!
Opposition, or contrast, of ideas or words in a parallel construction.
"[W]e shall... support any friend, oppose any foe..."
Sentence that completes the main idea at the beginning of the sentence and then builds and adds on
"But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course -- both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind's final war."
Sentence that exhorts, urges, entreats, implores, or calls to action.
"Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us."
Sentence used to command or tell.
"My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what we can do for the freedom of man."
Notice: JFK is not asking or begging the world to do anything, he is commanding them to think, "what we can do for the freedom of man."
Inverted order of words in a sentence (variation of the subject-verb-object order).
"United there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided there is little we can do..."
Placement of two things closely together to emphasize similarities or differences
Just think: you put things close together that matter.
them closer!
Paradoxical juxtaposition of words that seem to contradict one another.
"But this peaceful revolution..."
Think about it: How could a revolution be peaceful? A revolution by definition means the usually violent attempt by many people to end the rule of one government and start a new one. Violence and peace are opposites, that's what makes the statement an
. JFK uses this to emphasize a revolution in the way we think and what we believe.
Rhetorical Question
Attribution of a lifelike quality to an inanimate object or an idea.
"[W]ith history the final judge of our deeds."
Think about it: a judge is a
and to judge is an act only a
can do. How could history judge their deeds? JFK
history to emphasize that the deeds we do will be remembered.
A figure of speech in the form of a question posed for rhetorical effect (persuasion) rather than for the purpose of getting an answer
Rhetoric literally means "to persuade."

So anything that is used "rhetorically" is meant to persuade an audience.
The keys to unlocking your rhetorical analysis
Full transcript