The art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the exploitation of figures of speech and other compositional techniques is a rhetoric.
some common instances are:
a person gets on your nerves, you start feeling irritated, and you say, “Why don’t you leave me alone?” By posing such a question, you do not ask for a reason. Instead, you simply want him to stop irritating you. Thus, you direct language in a particular way for effective communication or make use of rhetoric. A situation where you make use of rhetoric is called a “rhetorical situation”.
Example of Rhetoric in Literature
1. John Milton’s Paradise Lost has several examples of rhetoric. To quote an example from Book V:
“advise him of his happy state—
Happiness in his power left free to will,
Left to his own free will, his will though free
The repetition of the phrase “free will” emphasizes the theme of human creation which is making free choices, but the phrase “yet mutable” creates ambiguity that, despite being free, Adam had to be careful, as a wrong act could make him lose his freedom.
2. John Donne addresses death in his Death, be not Proud (Holy Sonnet 10) by saying:
Thou ‘art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy ‘or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
The rhetorical question “why swell’st thou then?” serves to play down the horrific nature of death. He devalues death by calling it a “slave”, and that it keeps the despicable company of “poison, war, sickness” and seeks their support.