Rhetoric is not just about debates and arguments, these devices are used in everyday speech, fiction and screenplay, legal arguments and much more, so take a look at these famous examples and their impact on their audiences:
1. “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
Rhetorical Device: Anadiplosis – so the pairs of words at the beginning and end of each sentence give the impression that the appeal of logic is inaccessible and perfectly summed up.
2. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” —President John F. Kennedy.
Rhetorical Device: Chiasmus – so the phrase inversion can do and the word earth creates a sense of balance in the sentence that reinforces the sense of correctness.
3. “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” –President Ronald Reagan
Rhetorical Device: Apophasis – so in this dismissal of the presidential debate, Reagan made a ridiculous reluctance to comment on his opponent’s age, which ultimately does the job of raising his opponent’s age point.
4. “But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.” —Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address.
Rhetorical Device: Anaphora – meaning Lincoln’s use of repetition gives his words a sense of rhythm that emphasizes his message.
This is also an example of Kairos – so, Lincoln feels that the public needs to justify the slaughter of the Civil War. And thereby decides to make this statement attractive for the higher purpose of abolishing slavery.
5. “Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been to Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and I can say without hyperbole that this is a million times worse than all of them put together.” –The Simpsons.
Rhetorical Device: Hyperbole- so here a hyperbole humorous effect is used to undermine the superficial point of the sentence.
So rhetorical devices are used as tools to evoke responses from the reader and give them an opportunity to understand emotions, feelings and ideas on a deeper level. Thus, the use of rhetorical devices helps storytellers sketch a vivid experience for the audience, and the rhetorical devices also persuade the audience of the narrator’s perspectives. They make texts loaded with messages to be transmitted, and by using different rhetorical devices makes the narrator’s goals for the reader.
Their proper use makes the text rich, vibrant and enjoyable, and when carefully inserted, they transform the ordinary piece of writing into a memorable, evocative and enjoyable work. And it is precisely because of these devices that readers feel aligned with the character or narrator and that the audience also understands the uniqueness and depth of the text.