“The rethorical situation” – Lloyd Bitzer

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.

Comment ( 1 )

  1. Jeffery Rivas
    You did a good job demonstrating Bitzer’s main point on a rhetorical situation. However, I would’ve liked to know what you found interesting and why.

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