Although rhetorical analysis essays are not common in academic writing, knowing how to write them is essential. A rhetorical analysis essay includes several components that every writer should know. In addition, it has peculiar features that require deep analysis to understand how the author tries to influence the audience. This guide is designed to help you become familiar with the fundamentals of rhetorical analysis and explain the meaning of the ethos and pathos of the logo. In addition, the article analyzes the rhetorical situation, provides a structure with examples, illustrates common mistakes, and gives effective tips on writing a unique and efficient rhetorical analysis essay.

How To Write A Rhetorical Analysis Essay

What is a rhetorical analysis?

Before we analyze, you need to know what rhetoric is! Writing and speaking rhetoric involve influencing the audience with words. They impress audiences by appealing to these three characteristics:

Pathos: Appeals to the audience's emotions.

Ethos: The author uses his credibility and background to gain approval.

Logos: Using a cause to win favour or gain approval.

There are many means by which a rhetorician can use these three types of appeal. For example, he can do this in writing by writing an article or a book; He can do this verbally by giving a speech, or he can do it visually with cartoons or movies with interesting dialogues.

Writing a rhetorical analysis essay outline


The best way to start outlining your essay is to find a way to demonstrate to the reader that you've read the work and have a clear understanding of it. Keep your introduction short, but include an informative hook to demonstrate your understanding. This could be an interesting fact about the work, the period of the work, or the author.

After the hook, write a short summary of the work. Finally, present your thesis statement.

Body paragraph

Your essay will probably have three or more body paragraphs. Each paragraph will focus on one point that supports your thesis. How you index these paragraphs is up to you. Some authors believe starting with your weakest point and ending with your strongest is the most effective.

In either case, you would use the body paragraph to describe the author's methods to entertain, inform, and persuade the reader. But, of course, you'll need to support your thesis and describe methods. It means whether addressing those methods is successful or not.


A summary of your points should be provided in your conclusion. Then, bring things full circle by connecting your points to your thesis. Find out whether or not your author may have impacted their audience, then remind your readers why. If the author had a call to action or wrote something very impactful, you can end with an impactful comment on the importance of what they wrote.

What are the key concepts of rhetorical analysis?


Ethos represents the author's authority or credibility. The writer must convince the audience of their authority or credibility through language and delivery techniques. For example, this would be the case where an author writing on a technical topic positions himself as an expert or authority by citing his qualifications or experience.


Logos refers to the argumentative argument the author uses to persuade his audience. In other words, it refers to the reasons or evidence the author presents supporting their claims and can include facts, figures, and other forms of evidence. For this reason, logos are also a prominent approach in academic writing, where writers present and construct arguments using logic and evidence.


Through pathos, also known as pathetic appeal, the author attempts to evoke the audience's emotions through, for example, sentimental language, vivid imagery, anger, sympathy, or some other emotional response.

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Good Rhetorical Analysis

Rhetorical essays are generally unstructured, at least not in the way that other works can be.

If you want to write an excellent essay, the way to approach it is through a planned, logical approach. In that case, here's how you could proceed:

1. Pre-writing

The first part you'll include in the essay is a general explanation of what you think the work is about.

Start with a broad perspective and discuss how the work has affected you.

However, remember that you must defend each of these opinions later.

2. Break

Pick out the author's key strategies or techniques to convey his message.

They will be techniques you've already covered in your school work, so be careful when reading them.

3. Formulate Your Thesis Statement

Write a few sentences explaining the key strategies used in the text.

As you do, note the textual evidence you will use to support them.

Remember to do the same when you read the work, preferably on a notepad for future reference.

4. Write Draft

Make sure you have your thesis statement down and polished because there will be little room to change them later.

Then write as if you are trying to argue or explain the literary devices and techniques you use to your colleagues.

5. Edit and Proofread Your Work

Go over your work once or thrice to ensure the ideas flow naturally. There should be no grammatical errors in the work.

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