Rhetoric is used to argue and persuade the audience through writing, speeches or deliberation. It is one of the powerful ways to convey, convince and gain the trust of the people. It has been used for centuries to manipulate the audience and gain political, social, economic and intellectual benefits. It has been used the tool of persuasion since the Sophists who used it for public debates and political speeches to persuade the public. The Sophists even form a school to teach the art of rhetoric to the public so that they would excel in political life. However, Aristotle criticized the Sophist for using rhetoric to manipulate and gain monetary benefits from it. He came up with three genres of rhetoric, deliberative, forensic and epideictic recognizing the importance of rhetoric for the public. Hence the three modes of rhetoric become an essential part of the public and academic discourses, and they are used even today in political, public and popular cultural context. The people in the current society use the deliberative, forensic and epideictic genre to manipulate, convince and persuade people for political, economic and social gains.
Aristotle defines the three modes, deliberative, forensic and epideictic for three different spheres of the life. For instance, deliberative rhetoric focuses on the future and the deliberation about political discussions and debate by the state men to decide whether to take some action or refrain from it based on the consequences discussed in the deliberation. It can be used to decide good and bad, advantageous or disadvantageous. Similarly, the forensic rhetoric was confined for the attacking and defending someone in court cases or by the two parties, and it focuses on the past and used by the law. It can be used in the declaration of justice or injustices. Lastly, epideictic rhetoric is focusing on the present and used for praising or blaming of someone. The epideictic also known as ceremonial deals with the state of things at present and praises or blames in attempt to promote or condemn an action. Hence the three modes of deliberations were used for judgment to do or refrain from an action based on present, past and future actions. It is used to declare the virtue and vices of action or person.
However, no line separates the three forms. The three genre are used for distinct purposes regardless of the lines drawn by Aristotle. Although the division makes it easier for Aristotle to define each sphere, people use any of the rhetorical genres that they see the situations. The speakers can use all three genres in a political speech if that fulfills the requirement and need of the speech and helps him/her to persuade the audience. Today in many political speech people do blame others, boast about their actions and discuss why they did not implement a plan. For instance, in “I have a Dream” speech Martin Luther King blames American society for “segregation and the chains of discriminations” and considers it “shameful” and unjust and asks for “racial justice.” He uses all three devices in his political speech to persuade the audience, and to show the urgency to fulfill the “promises of democracy.”
According to the Aristotle, the political speakers “urge us either to do or not to do something” as is evident from the famous speech of King that he was urging the American society to end the slavery and segregation. Nevertheless, it was up to the listeners whether to support his cause or not. Similarly, the Bush declared war on terror in a powerful speech using past, present and future references, strategies, and rationale for going behind the terrorists. However many people consider the speech was delivered in haste without proper deliberation and action plan. Regardless, the speech was powerful rhetorically at the time of crises and helped people calm down. It was a speech that was delivered to unite Americans and the World in a war against terror getting assistance from the past experiences of US and incorporating the present crisis of 9/11. The speech might not follow the strict division of the Aristotelian genre, but it did follow the concept of delivering a persuasive speech concerning past and present and creating what must the nation do in the future.
Hence the Aristotelian techniques of oratory and persuasion using logic and argumentation is used by the modern day audience for political speeches, public events, and popular culture text. The art of persuasion is used to in the Athens to reach conclusions and find solutions for the future and present events. The oratory tools developed and theorized by Aristotle are used for the manipulation of the people about which Aristotle and Socrates had criticized the Sophist. The Sophists were charging a fee and earning money by teaching oratory and argumentation, but Aristotle criticized such an approach to rhetoric. For Aristotle, rhetoric is “universal,” “clear,” and useful.” The moral purpose of the speaker is also crucial “to discover the means” to be closer to the success. Thus, rhetoric is defined as “the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion.” However, in the art of rhetoric and oratory, three classes have involved the speaker, subject, and the person addressed and the last one “decides the speech’s end and object.” In contrast to modern-day discourse, most of the people do not understand the appeal and rhetorical devices used for the manipulating and convincing the audience for an action.
Most of the political speech is manipulative. The people want to persuade the audience for the future gains by blaming, accusing, others and creating great plans even though they might not fulfill the promises they make to the audience. For instance, President Trump promised better healthcare plans and Tax cuts for the people with better jobs perspective; he has not fulfilled the promises that he made to the people of America. He used the rhetoric to come to power and blamed Hillary, and Obama for many of the political reforms and their mistakes and won the elections. He used the Aristotelian genre of rhetorical oratory to gain the power and get the votes as the provided oratory devices are proved useful. Furthermore, the use of rhetoric by Nazi Germany that followed Holocaust is another horrendous example of using rhetorical discourse to gain power. The use of rhetoric to gain power has become part of modern day discourses. Be it a TV channel, newspaper or political speech and all use the rhetorical devices to control the audience.
Moreover, most of the time the orators or writers use the same techniques and modes and modes provided by the Aristotle to appeal to logic, emotions, and ethics based on past, present and future experiences and aspirations. They criticize, blame, and praise people that they want to promote and accuse others who they oppose and do not want successful. Most of the rhetoric that is used is to appeal the emotions of the people to form empathy, but it is usually for advancing a personal cause. However, it is not always for the advancement of the personal cause. Many of the human rights advocates use the same strategies of oratory and writings to convince and persuade people about the right cause. Consequently, it is the perceived right cause that the authors or advocates support. For instances, the businesses use the three genres of argumentation and oration to promote their products by praising and providing details of the benefits for the future.
The three genre is essential for the people to assess the use of appeal and argumentation that various people use to persuade and put forth their agendas. It helps the audience recognize and detect the problems with the arguments. Although Aristotle puts greater emphasis on the morality of the arguments, the modern speeches and writings in political and social gathering do not pay much attention to the morality and values that are important characteristics of argumentations and each of this genre. The division of the three genres helps the readers and listeners make a proper judgment of the speeches and the writings. People can recognize the argument and the way it is presented and the underlying reasons for such argumentations. The defined genre help people decide after realizing all the meanings and rhetorical strategies defined by Aristotle to judge a situation and decide about a problem or person. For instance, the idea for public or political debates on important issues was based on the idea of deliberations provided by the Aristotle which the political candidates engage in before elections.
Furthermore, rhetoric plays an essential role in the modern day English classes. Although the three modes are not taught and separated according to Aristotle, they are read and used to write academic papers. It has become “the informing principle for studying” the written work (Connors et al., vii). The focus of the rhetoric has become an integral part of the writing process because the classical rhetoric which established the connection between writing and rhetoric (Connors et al.). Thus, rhetoric and rhetorical analysis are crucial for the academic and professional circles. In writing, people envision the unknown audience and write about certain issues with the logic that is comprehensible for people far away, relating it to the dominantly held ethical or social values so that the people can relate to it and get persuaded or manipulated.
The three genre help to discern the concerns regarding the generalization and unworthy praises, unrealistic and illogical arguments and made up ethical values that are part of the society and social values. The awareness of rhetoric helps the audience and as well as the writers or speakers to be responsible as many people will be able to discern the fallacies and lack of logic if a person disregards the importance of rhetoric. It helps the audience to understand the worthy and unworthy praises, manipulation and authenticity in politics, TV channels and real-life events Because Aristotle and other scholars who wrote about rhetoric have identified the potential misuse of rhetoric for personal gains.
To conclude, the three genres of rhetoric laid down by Aristotle in his book On Rhetoric has become part of the modern-day discourse. Rhetoric and its use is prominent in all sphere of life, be it politics, corporate or entertainment. People praise or blame, decide and plan for future, defining fine ethical principles or future goals to benefit from it. It has helped to promote the humanitarian causes as well as the political causes. It is used to manipulate to gain personal or professional benefits. Regardless of how it is used by people from the distinct sphere of lives, it has become an integral part of the academia, especially English language. Rhetoric is the science of English language and classes around the globe enabling the teachers and students to analyze and assess the authenticity of a piece of written work or spoken words.