The purpose of rhetorical speeches is to persuade. Rhetorical speeches are best suited for topics that are political, forensic or ceremonial, in which an argument, based on logic, is made by a person of prudent character, to appeal to the emotion of people.
Ceremonial speeches, also known as "epideictic speeches," include topics of victory, inauguration, farewell and retirement. Ceremonial speeches put on a show to persuade the audience that the recognised person is, or is not, worthy of praise. If the leader herself is making a ceremonial speech, she persuades the people that she is right for the position by recalling the past, speculating on the future and focusing on her present principals. She applies praise or blame to elevate her position.
Political topics persuade and inspire. Rhetorical speech topics include legislative issues such as abortion, drunk driving, animal rights, gay marriages, global warming, national defence, war and peace, tax laws, terrorism and legalised gambling. With the listener's interests in mind, a rhetorical political speech discusses the future in order to take or avoid a course of action.
Forensic topics inspire the listener to take a stand while addressing problems, cause, effects, solution and conclusion. Topics with forensic rhetoric are based on past actions to determine guilt and punishment, which affect the future. Forensic topics involve perpetrators and victims. Such topics include: "radiation from cell phones cause health risks;" "violent video games promote violence;" "mercy killing should be illegal;" "drug-impaired physicians should be jailed;" and, "police brutality is increasing."
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