How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis of a Speech

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis of a Speech

Do you know how to write a rhetorical analysis of a speech? In this article we will share guidelines to help you write a good one with relative ease.

The purpose of rhetorical speech analysis is:

  • To thoroughly and deeply examine speech
  • To explore the tools and use in-depth rhetorical analysis
  • To use rhetorical techniques and strategies with the purpose of persuading the audience
  • To tell readers more about the speech and rhetoric that might not be obvious to them
  • To provide new knowledge regarding the speech.

Among the best rhetorical analysis of a speech samples you can review is the speech by Martin Luther King Jr. found at Reading this sample will give you great insights on how you can write and deliver a compelling rhetorical analysis of a speech.

Guidelines on how to write a rhetorical analysis of a speech

The introduction

The introduction of a rhetorical analysis of a speech should be brief. Though this is the case, there is essential information that must be contained in the introduction

  • Use SOAPS in the introduction and follow the format below:


  • Mention the speaker, the occasion and the subject( you can include the first and last name of the writer).
  • Audience-Identify the audience and the tone the writer uses in order to reach and appeal to them.
  • Purpose-State what the author intends to do in the speech.
  • Lastly, you should end the introduction with your thesis and employ rhetorical strategy while doing so.

Following these basic steps is essential towards ensuring you write an introduction that hooks your reader and keeps them interested in reading more.

The Body

Next, you have to work on the body of the essay. Make sure every paragraph of the analysis:

  • Identifies the section of the speech you are doing the analysis on. In this regard, use strong verbs and transition words for purposes of explaining what the author is saying.
  • The rhetorical strategy used by the author should be identified in this section as well. Make sure that you incorporate specific examples from the speech.
  • Specifically and clearly, ensure you explain rhetorical strategies employed by the writer as this is the only way to write a compelling analysis.

When writing a rhetorical analysis of a speech, the most crucial thing is to ensure you understand what is expected from you before you start working on the paper.

Basic questions you need to ask as you work on your analysis

There are basic question you need to ask yourself in order to write an impressive analysis. Ideally, these include the following:

Who is the speaker?

  • How do they establish ethos (personal credibility)?
  • Do they come across as fair or knowledgeable?
  • Does the reputation of the speaker convey authority?

What is their intention of speaking?

  • Are they on the defensive or attack?
  • Are they aiming to dissuade or exhort from a particular action?
  • Do they aim to blame or praise
  • Are they teaching, persuading or delighting?

Who is the audience?

  • Can you identify the targeted audience?
  • What are the values held by the speaker that appeal to the audience?
  • Are there any secondary witnesses? Who are they?
  • If the work is fiction, what nature does the audience assume in the fiction?

What is the message content?

  • Are you in a position to summarize the main ideas
  • What are principal argument lines or arguments used by the speaker?
  • What invention topics does the speaker employ?
  • How does the speaker appeal to emotion or reason?

These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself as you explore when writing a rhetorical analysis of a speech. Such questions not only help you get started on the paper but they ensure it is of high quality.

The solitude of self is a good example of a speech analysis you can find at to get an idea of how to write one.

Tips to consider as you write your analysis

By now you should be having some ideas on how to write a rhetorical analysis of a speech. However lets continue to look at how you hand the introduction and working on the body. There are other things you need to consider and these include the following:

  • Before you begin dissecting the speech, ensure you fully comprehend the situation. Knowing who the author/speaker of the speech is and their background in regard to what they are discussing will speed the process of analyzing the speech. For instance, a speaker/author with a history for defending civil rights is more likely to offer a speech that is different from that offered by a professor who has simply studied civil rights history.
  • If it is possible, read the speech first. Most of the political speeches are transcribed and easily accessible through political newspapers and websites. It is important for you to get a good feel of what they are saying and why. In other terms, you are supposed to figure out the speakers intentions.
  • Knowing and analyzing your audience also plays an important role while writing a rhetorical analysis of a speech. This is attributed to the fact it helps you write an effective analysis. For instance, the focus of a speaker could be more focused on child safety in response to a curfew law rather than safety of adults while addressing an audience that is comprised of young mothers.
  • If possible, take time and watch the speech. The body movements of the speaker, their infection and expressions can reveal more regarding their intentions and the sections of their speech that is important. While it might be difficult to recognize subtle sections of the speaker’s body language, it is important to focus on whether the words they use match what they are speaking. For instance, they could use a forceful gesture of the hand when they utter certain phrases. A phrase used forcefully is some type of tone and so is sadness. This helps reveal so much more about the speaker and at the same time, makes it easy for you to analyze the text.
  • Pay close attention to the manner in which the speaker organizes speech. If they begin with a joke, for instance, the purpose of the speech might be different than if they began with a sad tale surrounding an injustice. There are speeches which can be organized in a manner that ensures one idea leads to another one.
  • Lastly, you must discuss whether you believe the speaker carried out an effective job of communicating their intended message to a given audience. Where it is relevant, make suggestions on how the speech could be improved in order to ensure the message is passed in a clearer and more effective manner.

You can also read another sample at to get a clearer picture of how to write a rhetorical analysis of a speech. Written by professional writers, these samples offer great insights and at the same time, they ensure you improve your writing skills.

Selecting the suitable analysis

There are different units of analysis and your work is to select one that has the capability of revealing the most regarding your speech. The following techniques can be applied when writing a rhetorical analysis of a speech:

  • Pathos-It appeals to the emotions of the audience
  • Ethos-This is a technique employed by the speaker in order to make readers have faith or belief in what they are saying as well as having trust in their personality.
  • Consider the use of metaphors and other comparison techniques ( for instance similes and analogy)
  • Consider the tone (This can include the use of sentimentality, sarcasm, irony or even academic).
  • Review the evidence used by the writer and the kind of effect created


While writing the conclusion, it is imperative that you restate your thesis. It is ideal to refer to points stated above. The paper should end with a reflection of your thoughts on just how effective the speech is.

The reflection you provide must be fresh/new information and not something you had previously mentioned in the essay. Though the analysis is a collection of your individual thoughts, you should avoid using the word “I”. It is important that you write in the third person while doing the analysis.

We can offer assistance on writing a rhetorical analysis of a speech

By now you should be having a clear picture on how to write a rhetorical analysis of a speech if you have understood the tips above. However it might be possible you still might face some challenges and that’s where we come in.

If you have difficulties in choosing a topic or writing a rhetorical analysis of a speech of your choice, get in touch with us for assistance. Visit our homepage for more information about our academic writing services. You can also continue reading more academic paper writing guidelines and sample papers on this blog.