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.