Maximo Martinez, Summary and Analysis of “The Rhetorical Situation”, by Lloyd Bitzer

What I gather from reading “The Rhetorical Situation”, by Lloyd Bitzer, was that a rhetorical situation is basically when a specific situation is in need of a solution. This was made clear to me when he stated that “……rhetorical because it is a response to a situation of a certain kind.”(page 3), which explains the idea of in order for it to be a rhetorical situation it must have a response of some sort. In this essay he also talks about the fact that “there are three constituents of any rhetorical situation”(page 6):

  • Exigence: Which is like the purpose for what the rhetorical situation is being made(“an imperfection marked by urgency”page 6). It is any problem that can be change through an action, and that the rhetorical situation can address. Ex: if you were to be having a speech about racism, and how it is wrong, then racism would be the exigence.
  • Audience: This is an easy concept since it refers to the group of people who are capable of acting on the exigence stated, “consists only of those persons who are capable of being influenced by discourse and of being mediators of change” (page 8), in other words just the people that the discourse is being directed to. Ex: if you were making a speech on a college campus, about a topic such abortion, then your audience would be the women on that campus.
  • Constrains: This one is in my opinion the trickiest one, since is not as simple as the other 2.  According to Bitzer, constrains is a “persons, events, objects, and relations which are parts of the situation because they have the power to constrain decision and action needed to modify the exigence”(page 8). In other words is anything that limits the audience from acting on the exigence. Ex: if any controversial figure were to have a speech, its reputation and and the audience thoughts and view on that person, could be consider a constrain.

Comments ( 4 )

  1. Rachel De Leon
    I like the way you divided the three parts of a rhetorical situation into bullet points and in each bullet point you talked about the specific part. You added evidence to support your claim and you provided examples which is useful in case someone is confused about the topic. However, my only question is did anything interest you about what you read? Overall, I think you did a great job!
  2. Ruben Genao
    I agree with Rachel, the layout of your response is very good as well as your use of evidence and further explaining the evidence. I also like how you added examples of each of the elements. The only thing your missing is what intrigued you or confused you while reading all of this but besides that, your response is well thought out and executed.
  3. jenncy mejia
    I like way you chose to organize your response, you gave an overview of what you got from the article and then put the three constituents of a rethorical situation separate from each other. You went into great depth to define each and used evidence. I like the way you provided examples as well. I think you did great, keep it up.
  4. Christopher Lara
    Maximo, I think the way you chose to format your writing was different than the rest, however it was worked really well. As a reader it was helpful to have the bullet points included because I was able to read it clearer. I think you broke down and explained the elements very well while providing textual evidence.

Skip to toolbar