Aristotelian Artistic Proof Speech

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Aristotelian Artistic Proof Speech
PURPOSE: To give you practice in developing and delivering an oral argument focusing on one of Aristotle’s artistic proofs. The choice of rhetoric and accompanying proof is yours.
Your goal is to achieve your stated purpose and, in doing so, keep your audience interested.
NOTE: Check the Assignment Specifics sheet for requirements as to time limit, oral footnotes, bibliographic entries, etc.

1. Find a good piece of rhetoric! It could be a letter to the editor, a comic strip, an advertisement, a speech, etc. You must be able to describe it AND analyze it in the time allotted for the speech.

For example, you might want to analyze a SuperBowl commercial focusing on ethos (personal appeals), or a presidential speech focusing on logos (appeal to logic and reasoning), or a well-known persuasive movie focusing on pathos (appeal to emotions).
If we have already selected debate topics, your speech cannot be on a topic we are using.
NOTE: This must be a (slightly) persuasive speech, with an emphasis on analysis. You will be “proving” whether the artistic proof is used effectively or ineffectively in the rhetoric. In the process, you are helping us better understand the proof and the rhetoric.
2. Review the textbook and lecture notes Aristotle’s three modes of artistic proofs to make sure you really understand them. Then pick the proof that seems to apply most effectively to your choice of rhetoric.
3. Make an argument for one of the following positions:

  • The rhetoric was effective because it used ethos (or pathos, or logos—whichever you have chosen) very well.

  • The rhetoric was ineffective because it did not use the artistic proof well, or excluded it completely. (If you choose this position, you should include a statement of how they might have used the proof more effectively to strengthen their argument).

You will, of course, need to provide examples and analysis to support your position.

4. Prepare a speech that meets the following criteria:
a. Meets the requirements identified in this assignment sheet, in class, and on other class materials (adhering to time limits, evidence requirements, topic/approach, etc.).

b. Is organized and easy to follow (see Organization and Outline sections below).

c. Is easy to understand and is engaging for the audience (see Delivery section below).

d. You will also prepare a simple outline to use as a delivery outline and to turn into me (you will make two copies),

Organize the speech in a manner similar to that described below:
Introduction (please make this somewhat attention-getting; not a “Hello, my speech today is on XXX”)

Preview Statement: One sentence providing a roadmap of your main points—choosing a position as to whether the rhetoric was effective or ineffective based upon your analysis.

I. What are you explaining?

A. Rhetoric (Here you give us a basic description of what you are analyzing.)

B. Artistic Proof (Don’t just state it; explain it.)

II. Analysis (Here you give examples, then apply the artistic proof so we can see how it works in this piece of rhetoric.)

A. Example 1 (What did they say, and how does the proof apply.)

B. Example 2 (What did they say, and how does the proof apply.)

III. OPTIONAL: How the rhetoric could have been improved.

Summary Statement: One sentence reminding us of what your main points were, and reinforcing your position of whether the rhetoric was effective or ineffective.

Conclusion: Final statement of closure
If your delivery detracts from the presentation, your audience won’t listen to your message and your arguments fail. Spend time on delivery, paying attention to the following:

  • Energy/Confidence – You need to look like you want to be delivering this speech and know what you are talking about. If you sound bored (or like you are just reading off your notes), we won’t listen to you. A soft voice, a speech pattern where you sound like you are questioning yourself, etc., all contribute to the appearance of lack of confidence and authority.

  • Eye contactIn Western culture, eye contact is often associated with trustworthiness.

  • Fluency – Strive for a fluent delivery, avoiding choppiness and excessive use of vocal disfluencies/filler phrases (“ah,” “um,” “you know,” etc.).

  • Gestures – Make these as natural as possible; some audiences equate lack of gestures with lack of enthusiasm.

  • Posture – Show your confidence with good solid posture.

Use an extemporaneous delivery style, which is very conversational. You should be speaking off an outline and NOT sound like you are reading or memorized word for word.

Practice this speech (preferably in front of others) before you present. Time it to make sure it fits the time limit. Remember: You get penalized for being under or overtime.
You must develop an outline using the organizational style noted above. No need to show sources, unless you cite outside sources.
Please use a standard outline form (a link is provided on the Schedule Links document to help you with this).
What I will be looking for when grading your Aristotelian proof speech:

  • Appropriateness of topic for the type of speech assigned

  • Clear, discernable preview and summary statements (don’t make me have to look for them!)

  • Good organization (a clear attention-getting introduction, well-developed and organized body—appropriate for the speech type, distinct conclusion)

  • Emphasis on analysis, not just on providing information

  • Adheres to speech requirements (notes, time limit, etc.)

  • Good development of points (analysis)

  • Creativity, style in content and delivery

  • NOTE: This is an oral communication class. Delivery skills count heavily in your grade. Make sure you have practiced your speech several times, in front of an audience, so you perform with an enthusiastic/confident delivery, good inclusive eye contact, natural gestures, good posture, fluency (no filler phrases), smooth use of presentation aids, etc.

  • Appropriate physical appearance (clean, presentable, “a step above from your audience’s attire”)

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