Rhetorical situation

When you need to make a rhetorical analysis of a speech, it is important to be aware of the rhetorical situation of the speech.

Firstly, you should be aware of the circumstances of the speech. Was it a contribution to an ongoing political debate, or was it made in response to a specific event in society, such a terrorist attack, a presidential election or a graduation ceremony? The circumstances of the speech can also be referred to as the context of the speech.

Secondly, it is important to note who the speaker is, and which audience the speech is delivered to. It may be relevant here to study factors such as gender, age and level of education.

In connection with the speaker and audience, it is also useful to be aware of the medium or media through which the speech has been distributed. Today, most speeches are distributed through a range of media, which could for example include streaming services, television, official government websites or transcripts in print newspapers.

Finally, it is important to form a general overview of the main topics that the speech covers, and the viewpoints that the speaker expresses on these topics.

Depending on how you have been asked to present your speech analysis, these elements may not play a major part in your presentation, but they can still provide important context for the more detailed analysis work you need to do later on.