English 11

Classical Rhetoric

Classical Rhetoric is a yearlong study in the skills of written and oral persuasion. We will master these skills through the study of Aristotle's Rhetoric, Traditional Logic, Figures of Speech, and a “Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading.” While forming our own minds with logic and literary devices, we will read through those who have mastered these skills before us.

Course Description

This course is based on The Rhetoric and Poetics of Aristotle and covers the first two elements of writing and oratory with which he dealt--the speaker and the audience. The course is built upon reading and detailed note taking, evaluative writing assignments, weekly research, analytical reading exercises, figures of speech lessons, a review of traditional logic, and case study analysis.

As a class, we will study three model speeches from Homer, Plato, and Abraham Lincoln as examples of the three branches of classical oratory, and students will enjoy analyzing Marc Antony's "Funeral Oration" from William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar as an example of a great speech that defies all expectations.



  • The student will understand and apply the principles found in Aristotle’s Rhetoric
  • The student will learn how to read, mark, and summarize dense text
  • The student will learn classic figures of speech  
  • The student will learn how to analyze the effectiveness of his & others writing through traditional logical exercises.



We suggest either Advanced Composition or Logic as prerequisites.   A review of Logic is also incorporated into this Rhetoric course.

Course Expectations

Students taking this course for Kolbe Core (OK) credit will be required to submit 4 larger composition assignments per semester as chosen by their instructor. Core students should also expect to have daily reading, shorter weekly written assignments, required participation, and exams as assigned by their instructor. All requirements are assigned and graded by the instructor.

Course Texts
  • Classical Rhetoric with Aristotle Traditional Principles of Speaking & Writing
  • The Rhetoric and Poetics of Aristotle
  • How to Read a Book
  • Figures of Speech: 60 Ways to Turn a Phrase


Course Details:

Students should enroll in only one section.

Section Number




Mrs. O'Connor

Mrs. O'Connor

Grades (Typical)

10 - 11 (11th)

Live Class Meets

1x per Week

1 hr. 20 min.




Class Period




10:30 - 11:50 AM PT

1:30 - 2:50 PM ET

9:00 AM - 10:20 AM PT

12:00 PM - 1:20 PM ET



Credits (Type)

11 (English)

Transcript Designation


Companion Courses

Literature of Christendom

World History III: Era of Christendom

Apologetics/Ch History III


This class is NOT offered at the Kolbe Honors (OH) level.