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Rhetorical Analysis Essay

A rhetorical analysis is an essay that studies a text from the standpoint of rhetoric. Instead of focusing on the issues stated, the goal here is to pay attention to how the writer communicates their ideas.

For those who have never written a rhetorical analysis essay before, the task may appear to be quite challenging. This article will tell you about the main concepts of a rhetorical analysis essay. Continue reading to get a better understanding of rhetorical analysis with our expert tips.

Main concepts in rhetoric

Rhetoric teaches paper writers how to analyze speeches, texts, and arguments in the context of how they are constructed to persuade the target audience. Logos, ethos, and pathos are the three main rhetorical concepts that were developed by the philosopher Aristotle and are frequently referred to as the rhetorical triangle.

Rhetorical Triangle

Text and context

The rhetorical setting can be defined as the context in which a text originates. Any time someone attempts to make an argument, they are doing it inside a specific context, one that impacts and defines the argument. When you write a rhetorical analysis essay, you examine how the rhetorical setting (context) influences the rhetorical act (the text).

The basic parts of the argument

Claim, support, and warrant are used to build an argument. A claim is anything the author wants the audience to believe. The appeal you employ to persuade the reader to believe the claim is called support. It is what you will use to back up your claim; it can be a direct or indirect quote from a text or, occasionally, a statistic. Warrants are statements that reflect a broad concept in a way that informs or explains our decisions in specific situations. It is an assumption that connects the evidence to the claim.

Take the following sentence as an example.

Rhetorical statement

In “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” King says, “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with Saint Augustine that ʻAn unjust law is no law at allʼ.” It is a natural law statement that recognizes that authority is only lawful if it is fair and just.

Claim: It is OK to break some rules

Support: Some laws are unjust. Everyone's definition of justice is the same.

Warrant: We can distinguish between just and unjust laws.

Writing a rhetorical analysis essay

The purpose of a rhetorical analysis is to examine what is happening in the text, why the author may have chosen to make a certain rhetorical move or combination of moves, and how those choices may affect the audience. To identify rhetorical components and techniques, you must read and analyze a work critically. The sections that follow demonstrate how to work on the key parts of a rhetorical analysis essay.


The author and title of the work you are examining should be mentioned in the introduction. Provide any essential textual background material and your thesis statement. Refrain from delving into the text's topic and instead concentrate on the rhetorical methods employed. Here is how it works:

Rhetorical analysis introduction

Barack Obama's address following his first electoral win in 2008 is one of the best speeches of the early 21st century. The video of this statement has over 2 million views on YouTube, and many Americans continue to quote it. - The text and author are introduced in this first sentence. It also highlights the canonical status of the speech. The sentence gives some information on the speech's context, including when and where it was delivered, as well as its historical importance.

This essay examines Obama's Inaugural Address as a way of transferring the American Dream, arguing that rhetorical techniques are critical to the relationships between statements and actions. This analysis will show that one of the reasons for Obama's success is because of his rhetorical and linguistic strategies. - The thesis statement, a clear and simple summary of what this analysis will say about the text, concludes the introduction.


The argument's rhetorical methods (components of the rhetorical situation and rhetorical appeals) are discussed and evaluated in the body of your analysis essay. Make sure to include specific examples from the text for each method you examine and concentrate on the techniques that are most relevant to the content you are analyzing. Here is how it works:

Rhetorical analysis body paragraph

Obama uses a range of rhetorical and linguistic techniques in his speech, allowing him to spread the message in a favorable context. - This topic sentence establishes the focus of the present paragraph: Obama's use of rhetorical and linguistic strategies in his address.

In the rest of the speech, Obama uses the third person plural pronouns we, us, and our, which are important in generating a sense of oneness between the speaker and the listener. We, us, and our are used 61, 20, and 65 times in total, making them the most frequently used words in the speech. - These sentences contain evidence in the form of statistics.

The speaker does not separate himself from the American people; rather, everything the president says after that appears to have been addressed by us – the American people. - With the concept of ethos, the following sentences provide an analysis of the text in terms of how it works rhetorically.

Obama's speech thus has the power not just because of the pathos of his unity with the American people but also because of the ethos of the rhetorical and linguistic strategies he uses to communicate it. - The paragraph draws a conclusion by restating the main point of the analysis offered thus far.

Concluding a rhetorical analysis

Rhetorical analysis conclusion

According to the analysis of Barack Obama's Inaugural Speech, it was delivered by a skilled orator who used a variety of linguistic and rhetorical techniques to make the speech effective. The frequent use of the pronouns 'we' and 'our,' along with the lexical chain outlined above, impacts the speech in such a way that the public is nearly regarded as a participant in it. The President acts as a representative of the people. - The conclusion begins by summarizing the arguments made throughout the article.

Obama announces his message to his people in a positive way by employing linguistic strategies that have been used by a number of former presidents and have shown to be appreciated by present and future generations. - This sentence expands the context by emphasizing the analysis' significance.

The orator, according to the numerous linguistic and rhetorical strategies, expresses the audience's thoughts and, as President, defends the interests of the public. - With this final sentence, the analysis comes to a powerful and lasting conclusion.

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