The Pervasiveness of Rhetoric

In class we talked about how rhetoric is present in fields other than just writing. In fact, rhetoric is definitely present in our everyday lives in many different aspects. While when some people think of rhetoric it might be in a more academic setting, the truth is that we all use rhetoric and persuasion in our daily lives. For example, rhetoric can be used when trying to convince a friend what restaurant to eat at for dinner or what movie to watch together. Many common decisions are made on the basis of the use of rhetoric and how people have swayed our opinions by employing the techniques of rhetoric we have been learning about.

We also discussed the idea that rhetoric is present in different forms of art. This was seen in abundance during our time in Florence as we observed all the art exhibits. The way an artist presents their work can be viewed as a form of rhetoric, as seen in the different ways Mary was portrayed as time passed in the exhibits we saw. Music can also be seen as rhetoric. Movies frequently use music to influence the audience members’ thoughts. For example, the suspenseful music played in horror movies makes the scenes more intense and gears the audience up for what might happen. Likewise, the Jaws theme song influences the audience’s emotions and makes them anxious about an impending attack.

Aside from being such a large part of our informal everyday lives, rhetoric is also prominent in formal settings. Throughout my public education, I have learned strategies of persuasion. In high school we were instructed how to write persuasive essays and get our opinions across and how to properly back them up. Rhetoric is also present in many jobs like those of lawyers or teachers when convincing their clients or students to do or believe things. Clearly, rhetoric is a huge part of our lives and should be understood in much more terms than just being an ancient way of writing or speech making.

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