How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay


In the traditional sense, rhetoric is an integrative discipline, located at the intersection of linguistics, literature, psychology, history, and philosophy. Students should be able to find a thought and to clothe it in an elegant verbal wrapper that corresponds to the proposed communicative situation. It is not by chance that this discipline is defined as the science and the art of eloquence at the same time. However, the ability to generate one's statement is far from the only task the learners face while studying this subject. The ability to perceive speech in all types of words and the extract meanings that are adequate to the author's intention is equally important. The development of these skills contributes to such type of work as rhetorical analysis.

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The Main Stages of the Rhetorical Analysis Essay Writing

The Image of a Speaker

Since the text of the speech is always recognized by the individual creative manner of the speaker, it is necessary to give brief information about the type of activity of the author. Describe the scope of his or her interests, the most significant achievements due to which he or she went down in history (it may be the facts of the biography that caused making a speech). The work on the starting point of the analysis suggests a certain degree of student erudition, as well as the skill of working with sources of encyclopedic material, namely, dictionaries, reference books, and Internet sources.

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The Audience

In order to learn how to write a rhetorical analysis essay step by step, first, it is necessary to determine the nature of the audience to whom the speech is addressed (or could have been addressed). The text is intended to the addressee basing on his or her creative perception. Focusing on the audience, the speaker chooses the subject of speech, stylistic resources, methods of constructing text, and rhetorical tools. The text is set to the reader, not as a system of positive content but rather a well-known scheme and a riddle that the reader must complement and solve in a specific sense plan.

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The Goals

It is necessary to distinguish the general and private target installations. The overall target setting is the speaker’s own speech intent, for example, to inform, prove one’s point of view, etc. In accordance with the target setting, the type of speech is determined. The private or specific goal of the speech is the main idea, the idea that the speaker wanted to convey to the audience. Of course, at the first approximation to the text, the main idea can be formulated only at the level of assumption; the most accurate determination is possible only after considering all layers of the analyzed text. Therefore, it is necessary to return to this point of the plan at the completion of the text analysis.

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It is obligatory to name the main and additional functions of introduction and the means of their implementation. The main functions include the presentation of the topic, the recruitment of allies, and the removal of contradictions. The last one requires an indication of which tactical model of speech behavior is represented in the analyzed text.

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The Body of the Text

Based on the semantic scheme, it is pivotal to name the method of construction (deductive, inductive, analogous, chronological, or concentric) of the main part of speech. For argumentative statement, one should pay special attention to the types of arguments used by the author (logical or psychological).


Here the type of conclusion and the functions to be implemented should be indicated (the main and, if any, additional ones).

Rhetorical Techniques

The rhetorical technique is a concept which is expressed in relation to linguistic tools (graphic, lexical, grammatical), including rhetorical methods (methods of dialogizing communication, enhancing the audience’s attention, etc.) in order to have a certain impact on the addressee.


The purpose of speech should fully formulate the main idea of the text. At this stage of work, it is possible to refer to the surviving documentary evidence of what impact the speech had on the audience (in particular, it concerns texts of judicial and socio-political eloquence). Moreover, you must express your opinion about the effectiveness and relevance of the analyzed public statement.
Now you know how to write a good rhetorical analysis essay.

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