Rhetorical Précis

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Rhetorical Précis
(Definition: a concise summary of essential points,
statements, or facts )
From Reading Rhetorically
By John C. Bean, Virginia A. Chappell,
and Alice M. Gillam
How to Structure a Rhetorical Précis
Sentence 1: Name of author, genre, and
title of work, date in parentheses; a
rhetorically accurate verb (such as
“claims,” “argues,” “asserts,” “suggests”);
and a THAT clause containing the major
assertion or thesis statement in the work.
 Sentence 2: An explanation of how the
author develops and supports the thesis,
usually in chronological order.

How to Structure a Rhetorical
Précis (62)
 Sentence
3: A statement of the
author’s apparent purpose, followed
by an “in order to” phrase.
 Sentence 4: A description of the
intended audience and/or the
relationship the author establishes
with the audience.
In his funeral oration for Julius Caesar, Marc
Antony suggests that Caesar was a great
benefactor of the Roman people who was
wrongfully murdered. Marc Antony makes this
assertion through an increasingly bitter and ironic
characterization of Brutus as a “noble man” and
by listing Caesar’s many generous acts,
concluding with the legacies Caesar left to the
Roman people in his will. Antony’s purpose is to
incite a riot against the conspirators in order to
avenge Caesar’s death and prevent the
conspirators from taking control of Rome.
Because the audience is emotionally vulnerable
and volatile—and is initially sympathetic to
Brutus—Marc Antony first pretends to share his
audience’s regard for Brutus before turning the
crowd against Caesar’s killers.
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