Speech to Virginia, Patrick Henry.
“Give me liberty or give me death”, the prominent line that everyone has heard before, had created a major significance not only to the revolutionaries but also towards the English experts. This line had been established from, the author, Patrick Henry in his “Speech to Virginia,” published in March 23, 1775. Henry’s purpose of the speech had been to convince the Virginia House of Burgesses to send troops to help aid the revolutionary war, his main purpose towards the ‘audience’ was to urge them to start a revolution. Henry begins his speech, with his apologies; displaying a respect towards all opinions in this matter. Later on in the speech, Henry presents an employment of emotional appeals to induce his audience.
In the speech, Henry starts off by addressing the people who had gone before, and establishing a sense of respect towards their opinions as well. In the first paragraph lines 10-12 Henry states, “For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate.” (Henry 1). Henry’s choice of words such as, “freedom”, “slavery” and “less” is appropriate to the development of the argument as an illustration of appeal to pathos. Theses phrases and words emphasize the idea of nationalism which many people in the audience could relate or agree on, promoting a sense of connection towards their country and people amongst the audience. The sense of nationalism can also affect the audience to remind them of their country’s priority.
In addition to Henry’s appeal to pathos, he exerts the strong appeal to ethos as well. Henry incessantly mentions God’s power, to illustrate the significance of ‘God’ and religion, supporting this rebellion. For instance, in lines 115-117, Henry states, “There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us” (Henry 3). This illustrates that, god subsidizes with whoever rebels, and he will help those who “raise up to fight”. The tone of the passage, when this statement is made is mostly, ‘eloquent’ as well as ‘vigorous’. Henry’s message is incisively illustrated when he inputs various amounts of literary analysis in his speech.
Aside from the exertion of pathos and logos, Henry also includes parallelism as well as allusion in his speech. As an illustration, in the text on lines 74-77, it reads, “We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne”, this is an example of parallelism in the speech. Through this device Henry’s repetitive quality of the sentence structures within the text, makes it easier for the audience, or the readers, to remember the substance, (in this case the substance would be the actions done by the people) more vividly. An example of allusion in the speech would be, the following lines 22-24, “We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts” (Henry 1). Henry introduces an allusion, which in this case is the reference to the ‘Song of the Siren’ to add extra meaning to the context as well as to add validity to his claims.
Henry starts off the essay by introducing his claim by instilling the appeal to pathos. Later on he employs many other literary devices, (repetition, ethos, allusion and parallelism) to not only strengthen his claim, but also to give it an assurance. Henry’s speech is known for his various amounts of rhetorical device application, to prevail upon his audience to rebel. Although this account hadn’t been written by Henry himself, it had been based on the true speech given by him. Which invokes the audience’s attention to read the text, influenced by Patrick Henry.
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