“The Rhetorical Situation” by Lloyd Bitzer- Rachel De Leon

Throughout the reading, “The Rhetorical Situation,” by Lloyd Bitzer, I learned that a rhetorical situation is when persons, events, objects, and relations have a demand that can remove a topic by introducing the situation it can limit people’s decisions and actions to finding a solution to the demand. In addition, there are three types of rhetorical situations: exigence, audience, and constraint.

A rhetorical exigence is “. . . a defect, an obstacle, something waiting to be done . . .” (pg. 6). Rhetorical exigence is basically the reasoning towards why the rhetorical situation was being made. However, a rhetorical exigence is when there’s an action that can be made to change the situation and that addresses the rhetorical situation. In the essay, Bitzer uses the example of pollution to demonstrate what a rhetorical exigence is; pollution can be reduced by having awareness and taking action of the situation.

An rhetorical audience “. . . consists only of those persons who are capable of being influenced by discourse and of being mediators of change” (pg. 8). Only the people that the rhetorical exigence is affecting or are interested in would be the rhetorical audience. For example, if someone gave a speech of elimination of animal cruelty, only the attention of people were interested about animals well being would be drawn by those actions. Those people would be categorized as the audience of specific topic.

A rhetorical constraint is “. . . made up of 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” (pg. 8). A rhetorical constraint is when anything or anyone has the power to restrict the people from letting the demand occur. For example, there could be two sides of a situation if one side is well supported with arguments and evidence by a well known figure compared to the other side, people would mostly be restricted.

Something that catched my attention was how Lloyd Bitzer refers to what a rhetorical response is. In the essay, Bitzer states, “(7) Finally, the situation controls the rhetorical response in the same sense that the question controls the answer and the problem controls the solution” (pg. 6). Bitzer refers to different situation have different solution which is called rhetorical discourse and to find one people usually develop thoughts and actions. People develop thoughts and actions to figure out the different solutions to different situations, everything is determined by the other. In the essay, Bitzer uses the example of the fishermen fishing, he describes the fishermen’s actions before and after one of them almost catches a fish, the situation of obtaining the fish, and the solutions being shouted out to have the fish. This is an example of rhetorical discourse.

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