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In the simplest terms, a rhetorical artifact is a collection of symbols that is meaningful in a culture. An artifact is rhetorical to the extent that the symbols it incorporates convey a persuasive message to some audience. Because what is considered a symbol varies widely, what is considered an artifact does too. Symbols and, therefore, rhetorical artifacts always imply the creative work of humans. For instance, a natural landscape is not a rhetorical artifact, but a travel website that describes the landscape could be considered one.

Rhetorical artifacts may be verbal (containing words) or nonverbal (containing images, actions, and other sensory information that does not comprise words). Examples of artifacts include public speeches and documents, popular culture items such as movies, television shows, songs, comic book ...

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