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The history of scientific and educational rhetoric shows that the main methods for achieving oratorical mastery are observation of the living sound of the speech workshops, the study of the experience of the great speakers of the past, the critical analysis of the written texts of speeches, the imitation of individual elements, and the structure and composition of speeches, the construction of their own texts of speeches on the basis of classical speeches. In order for the speakers, guided by general rules and schemes of making speeches, to be able to build not artificial, but natural, sincere, and profoundly meaningful speeches, one can offer them to prepare a rhetorical analysis essay.

Rhetorical analysis can be presented as a decoding of the spoken or written text, that is, the movement from the result, the expression, reaching the goal to the output grounds. In the process of rhetorical analysis, you go through the text step by step, in accordance with the process of its creation, to the results of the pronouncement, using to a greater or lesser extent the knowledge obtained in each of the five sections of rhetoric:
  • Invents
  • Dispositions
  • Elocution
  • Memorials
  • Actions
However, in the process of analysis, data of dispositions and elocution are mainly used, especially when we analyze not live, sounding text, but the one that is already written down. Therefore, there are two types of rhetorical analysis:
  • Compositional
  • Eloquent, which is very close to the stylistic

The rhetorical analysis should show how logical, consistent, and expedient the speech is, if the speaker followed the basic laws, rhetorical rules, and requirements, reservations and councils illuminated in the inventions, dispositions, elocution, and actions.

It is very important to pay attention to the improvement of one’s own rhetorical preparation in the process of rhetorical analysis of how the speaker formulated the topic, the purpose of presenting the subject, the concept of how appropriately the law and strategy were chosen. It is important to note how the theses are formulated, how well the type of argument and types of evidence were chosen, or whether opposition opinions are refuted, if the author knows how to generalize and draw conclusions.

The analysis of the best speeches of well-known orators for compliance with their canons of rhetoric and the use of speech texts as role models, the preparation of similar speeches and their utterances were the main activities in the process of training professional rhetorists in schools and universities.

Complex rhetorical analysis of the text

Rhetoric is the main subject for successful teaching of speech genres, as they form literate speech, develop the ability to feel a word, determine its significance in speech, create varieties of texts.

Complex rhetorical analysis essay forms communicative and genre skills for students, which is the main condition for successful communication.

For the convenience of describing the texts below is a sample scheme that will help you master the methodology of complex analysis. Of course, this scheme is not dogma, and depending on the genre, the specific features of the text, the task posed, the order of description can vary. If necessary, attention can be focused only on certain aspects. Everyone who works with this scheme should fill it with concrete content, show rhetorical taste and research abilities.

General characteristics of the text

Genre, author, the nature of his preparation for the performance, communicative situation, topic, goal, partners in communicative activities (listeners, opponents, partners).

The composition

The composition includes:
  • Introduction. The beginning should be natural, sudden, oratory, and intriguing. There should be a formulation of the topic and tasks of the speech.
  • The main part. The structure should be chain, parallel or mixed. Include retreats and illustrations.
  • The final part: summary, call to action, and conclusion. Rhetorical methods of ending: compliment to listeners, citation, joke, etc.
  • The proportionality of parts, the relationship between them.


Argumentation includes:
  • The main thesis. Additional theses (if any). How are the theses put forward? Strategy and tactics of the rhetorician.
  • Logical argumentation. Arguments in defense of your own thesis, the order of their nomination and defense. The opponent’s thesis and its refutation. Arguments of the opponent and their refutation. The tricks in the logical argument: substitution of the thesis, the strengthening of the thesis, the change of position, the demand for new arguments, etc. The selection of the illustrative material (facts, statistics, etc.).
  • Emotional arguments: arguments for the benefit, arguments to the feelings (sympathy, vanity, pride, etc.), arguments to the will, arguments to authority (references to authoritative genuine and imaginary adherents), arguments to experience, arguments to the individual (discrediting an opponent and raising one’s own status). General demagogic arguments.
  • The methods of indirect influence: privatization of knowledge, implicit information, manipulation of dialectic contradictions, lexical interpretation, etc.

Correctness and expressiveness of speech

This may consist of:
  • Normality, accuracy, purity, and moderation.
  • Expressiveness: clarity, brevity, wealth, logic, emotionality, and individuality. Proportionality and rhetorical taste.

Language means of rhetoric

Repeat patterns are sound, morphemic, verbal, synonymous, morphological, and syntactic repetitions. Repeat with ascending and descending gradation, repeat with variation of form and meaning.

Arrangement patterns are inversion, parcellation, segmentation, nominative (or other) chain, ellipsis, antithesis.

Repeat and location patterns are anaphora, epiphora, ring, chiasmus, and others.

Figures of imitation are allegory, allusion, silence, amendment, rhetorical question, rhetorical exclamation, rhetorical dialogue, etc. Tropes are metaphor (single/unfolded/through/regular/irregular/live/erased), metonymy (regular/irregular, live/erased), symbol, synecdoche, hyperbola, comparison, epithet, paraphrase, antonomasia, irony, etc.

Rhetorical analysis of fiction

Fiction, unlike other texts, has a larger number of measurements, is a complex alloy. Along with the linguistic, literary, and other types of analysis there is a rhetorical analysis essay. Rhetorical analysis, having an integrated nature, helps understand that the text does not automatically appear from the language tools, but organically follows from an extra-linguistic situation. The basis of this analysis should include a rhetorical concept that helps the reader communicatively and adequately understand the author’s intent, the relevance of the topic to the requirements of the situation, contributing to a more complete assessment of all the variety of links existing in the text. All this, in turn, develops rhetorical skills to apply various speech strategies in oral and written speech.

If you turn to the work of any writer, you can see such an essential detail: the oratorical culture of the times of any writer is reflected in their works. For example, works of Chekhov were largely influenced by the so-called small press. Probably, due to this influence, the great author never wrote a novel, but many of his stories by the coverage of the material and scale of socio-psychological and philosophical generalization correspond to the novel (this is often mentioned by researchers). In his stories, the writer was guided by the image of everyday situations (trifles of life), the recreation of the way of life of various social groups.

It was in the 60s of the 19th century that many writers turned to research life of the lower classes and reproduction of the people’s way of life in literature. This was realized as one of the significant tasks of that time. Democratic prose of the sixties has expanded the social range of the artistic image, it was characterized by a significant feature – “equalization of the living and the lifeless" (animation of objects and vice versa). The objects depicted required a new form of narration, more concise and concentrating the phenomena depicted. In the 70-80s of the 19th century, the introduction of things to the artistic text was no longer so rigidly determined by a concrete value. However, a comic story, sketch, anecdote was not just related to the thing – they were without it unthinkable, they are built on it; the thing acted as the center of the world, a point of attraction.

Chekhov also uses the rhetorical method of interrupting, when in the narrative alien elements of style are wedged in. This technique was used by the writer in dialogues, in which it is necessary to emphasize his attitude to the subject of speech. A vivid example of this rhetorical technique is the content structure of the dialogue in the story On the Drama: friends, talking about art, at the same time eat dinner, drink wine, and one of them is continuously distracted by spanking his nephew. The writer clearly demonstrates that this conversation for is absolutely uninteresting for them, idle topic, just a part of their daily life.

Thus, the structure of the writer’s communication with the reader in the early works of Chekhov coincides with the basic laws and methods of rhetoric. Some rhetorical positions of the texts considered here are important for understanding the hidden meaning of early stories of Chekhov. Rhetorical analysis helps understand the creative method of the writer.

What does rhetorical analysis do?

For many centuries, the forms of organizing oral and written texts were worked out, addressed to a large audience. Rhetorical analysis of the text makes it possible to consider various aspects of its construction on a concrete material, reveal receptions of speech influence, evaluate language tools chosen by the author, and means of speech expressiveness. Ability to analyze the text is an important component of communicative competence, it creates the necessary basis for creating your own texts of different genres.

Rhetorical analysis involves the following aspects:
  • Genus and speech/text genre, its addressee
  • Objective of the author (if the author achieved the goal)
  • Conditions for creating and pronouncing speech (place, time, etc.)
  • The relationship of the author and the audience
  • Finding speech/text (taking into account a particular audience in the rhetorical strategy)
  • Types of arguments (pros and cons, strong and weak)
  • Types of arguments (inductive/deductive, descending/ascending, disproving/supporting, unilateral/bilateral, etc.)
  • Effectiveness of argumentation
  • A composition of speech/text (its absolute beginning and end, division into parts, transitions between them)
  • Change of points of view (internal/external, own/alien, spatial, temporal, estimated, etc.).
  • Use of different types of speech
  • Correctness, accuracy, relevance, expressiveness of speech (whether actual, logical, speech errors are allowed)
  • Communicative failures, their causes
  • The desirability of using tropes and rhetorical figures
  • Receptions and means of dialogization of speech/text
  • Means for establishing and maintaining speech conic
  • Means of expressing verbal aggression (their permissibility)
  • Demagogic and manipulative techniques
  • Preparation of speech (degree of its sufficiency)
  • General assessment of speech/text (persuasiveness, originality, etc.).

The analysis of the oral presentation should be supplemented by the speaker’s behavior in the audience (the appropriateness and expressiveness of his gestures, facial expressions, intonation, adequacy of loudness and pace of speech), his freedom from pre-written text, attitude to the proposed regulations.

Analysis of the behavior of participants in dialogical communication (which can be both oral and written) has its own characteristics and can be supplemented by the following parameters:
  • Type of dialogue (explanation, argument, quarrel, etc.)
  • Its theme (the main thesis)
  • Goals pursued by participants in dialogical communication
  • Their strategies and tactics
  • Ways of protection and attack
  • Permissible and unacceptable tricks (disruption of the dispute, transition to identity, sophistry, evasion from the topic, etc.)
  • The role of witnesses in dialogical communication (are they included in the circle of addressees?)
  • Quick reaction of the participants in the dialogue
  • Types of replicas used (pick-ups, repetitions, refutations, etc.)
  • The winner of the dispute (in the case of dissonance dialogue)

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