Rhetoric

856 Words4 Pages
Rhetoric, the art of speaking, is vital in everyday life. Whether it is to convince others of one’s worth as Sojourner Truth does in, “Ain’t I a Woman” or to pledge to a larger audience like Martin Luther King Junior in his “I Have a Dream” speech, rhetoric plays a significant role because it is the key that unlocks the door to self-expression. Without it, nobody would be able to convey his/her message or to get any thoughts across. A silent world, lacking communication, would therefore emerge. Trust would not be present as there would not be any words for someone to convince their beloved ones of his/her sincerity. Proper diction and syntax must be employed in order for one to effectively get others to share his/her beliefs, or at least to respect them. Language allows for the establishment of equality. People tend to raise or lower their personas in order to form a more equal position with their audience. Queen Elizabeth’s exordium in, “Speech to the Troops at Tilbury” is “my loving people.” The fact that she chooses these words as opposed to something less formal makes the audience more willing to listen to her. The fact that she is the queen, thus possessing power and authority, makes it necessary for her to become one of the troops with regards to their social status. Similarly, Truth changes her position to convey her message, but by starting off with “well, children” to express herself in a more superior light. A matriarchal figure represents strength and knowledge and that is what Truth wanted to create. By making it seem like she was superior, she actually established a similar rank with her audience. Because one is more willing to listen to someone who is similar to them in terms of status, it is imperative that rhet... ... middle of paper ... ...verall smarter person. Subconsciously, one makes better decisions and knows who to trust because suddenly words become that much more important. Everything said is now analyzed for its validity. Ultimately rhetoric is significant in multiple ways. It creates an environment where two parties can interact and express their beliefs, while establishing equality. Both Truth and Elizabeth had to convince another group of people, not quite on their social level, of something that meant so much to them. The only way that they could have done that successfully was to utilize proper diction. Rhetoric makes one a better speaker and a smarter audience member because not only is one able to convince people but also capable of distinguishing the facts from a sea of lies. Understanding rhetoric helps one become a well-rounded person, becoming both a contributor and a recipient.

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