Aristotle believed in the success of persuasion through the use of different rhetorical approaches that stressed the necessary elements of a text. His approaches evolved over time as rhetorical demands changed.

Three areas of rhetorical focus:

  1. Text
  2. Author
  3. Audience


Author oriented

  • Appeals to credibility
  • Self-portrayal
  • Reveals the character of the speaker


Audience oriented

  • Appeals to emotion
  • Emotional influence
  • What you want them to feel


Text oriented

  • Appeals to logic and reasoning
  • Presents an argument or a solution to a problem
  • The evidence used to support the purpose


Audience oriented

  • Fits the who, what, when, where, and why
  • Focuses on the setting—time and place—of the text
  • The author uses the setting to gain perspective and persuasion


Text oriented

  • The author’s purpose behind the text
  • Gives the text direction and a goal to accomplish
  • Explains the meaning of the text and answers the silent “Why?” or “So what?”


Author, audience, and text oriented

  • The purging of emotions
  • The audience is an active member of the rhetoric
  • Provides an opportunity to let out felt emotion