Christopher Collaguazo response to “The Rhetorical Situation” by Lloyd Bitzer — Classic Editor

In “The Rhetorical Situation” by Lloyd F. Bitzer, he defines what a rhetorical situation is and the components that make up a rhetorical situation. Bitzer mentions how rhetorical situations is defined by “the context in which speakers or writers create rhetorical discourse”(Bitzer 1). One of Bitz’s main arguments is that there must be a situation for rhetors to come up with arguments. He provides an example of this by talking about Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, this is consider to be a rhetorical situation in which it influences social actions. Bitz mentions the three main components that make up a rhetorical situation which are exigence, audience, and constraints. He states how “exigence is rhetorical when it is capable of positive modification and when positive modification requires discourse or can be assisted by discourse”(Bitzer 7). This shows how exigence demands a proper response and it can be fixed by using rhetoric. The audience is an important factor because they are the ones who listen, interpret, and hopefully influence to enact a change. They are in between rhetoric and putting things into action. To add on, a rhetorical situation contain constraints which involves people, events, objects, and relations. These constraints have an effect on the audience and rhetor, when the orator enters the situation, the orator can have “ personal character, his logical proofs, and his style”(Bitzer 8), this can create a disconnection with the audience and rhetor.


One idea that stood out to me was when Bitzer said “If it makes sense to say that situation invites a “fitting” response, then situation must somehow prescribe the response which fits”(Bitzer 10). This idea is mainly advocating for the rhetorical response to meet the requirements that is included in the situation. The situation is mainly looking for “purpose, theme, matter, and style of the response”(Bitzer 10). There should be a “fitting response” that can satisfy the audience and answer any worries and concerns they could have. As well as everyone else who is part of the situation. To determine whether or not the response is “fitting”, the audience has the final say and see whether the delivery of it is to be considered as a fitting response. To summarize this, I believe that this idea is important because the audience plays a big role in this and they should be heard. Determining whether or not the situation has a fitting response, it allows for the audience to be heard since they are the ones being affected and the ones bringing a change.       

Comments ( 2 )

  1. Ali Husain
    I like how you used the Gettysburg Address to show an example of a rhetorical situation. As it was a major part of American history. I agree with what you wrote about the audience playing a big role. They are a major part to a rhetorical situation and at the same time they can have an unbiased opinion on the situation, because like you said they are not the ones bringing a change or being affected. Overall you have a very well written and great response.
  2. Christopher Lara
    I like how you explained the idea that stood out to you, it helped me as a reader because when I read Bitzer's words it is a bit word and can get confusing. I feel like you explained it and broke it down very well, making it clearer for me to understand. I also agree with Ali towards the fact that the Gettysburg Address was a good example of a rhetorical situation because of its role in American history.

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