Lloyd Bitzer The Rhetorical Situation Summary

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Summary: Despite the fact that the two articles have the same theme of “rhetorical situation,” these two authors have completely different point of views on the relationship between rhetorical and situation. In “The Rhetorical Situation,” Lloyd Bitzer starts the article by asking a “confusing” question–what is a rhetorical situation? In order to explain his question, he puts it in another way by referring rhetorical situation to “the nature of those contexts in which speakers or writers create rhetorical discourse” (1). He believes that the presence of rhetorical discourse usually indicates the presence of a rhetorical situation, but the existence of situations is not caused by discourse. And he writes this article to …show more content…

And more importantly for him, the situation is the fundamental element of rhetorical activity. Bitzer defines Rhetorical situation as, “A complex of persons, events, objects, and relations presenting an actual or potential exigence which can be completely or partially removed if discourse, introduced into the situation, can so constrain human decision or action as to bring about the significant modification of the exigence.” In describing “Rhetorical Situation” Bitzer also mentions 3 constituents of it: First of all, the exigence—an “imperfection” or a “defect,” which is also the need of having something to be done. There is a variety of exigencies. An exigence will be classified as rhetorical only when it allows positive modification and the positive modification is based on discourse. The second constituent is the audience. The audience in this case plays the role of …show more content…

Unlike Bitzer, who considers the situation as the primary factor which produces a rhetorical discourse; Vatz, implies that rhetorical discourse creates the situation. (He believes that “the meaning is not discovered in situations, but created by rhetors.”) And he regards the rhetor as the most important one who make choices and constructs rhetorical meanings. In explaining the importance of rhetor, He writes that there are two main steps in “communicating situations”: the first is the selections on events for communicating; the second is the translation or our own understanding of the selected

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