Rhetorical devices

Introduction

When you analyze a speech, it is almost always relevant to study the speaker’s use of rhetorical devices.

Note that the distinction between stylistic devices and rhetorical devices is somewhat debatable, so you may encounter a different division from the one we use in this guide. However, the most important thing is that you are aware of how each individual device works.

Rhetorical devices are language strategies that are used to make the speech more convincing. These devices are designed to make the message of the speech resonate with the audience, to engage their emotions and to make them think and act according to the speaker’s wishes. 

When you bring up these devices in your analysis, it is important to consider what their effect is in the particular speech you are studying. If you just make a long list of devices, your analysis will not be very interesting. It is important to say something about how and why they are used in the context of the speech. Generally, it is also a good idea to include specific quotations and examples from the text when you talk about rhetorical devices.

As you can see, we cover a lot of different devices below. It is important to note that you should not attempt to find all of them in each individual speech you are working with. Instead, we recommend that you simply use this page to look up any specific devices that you may need to study in your particular speech.

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