Patrick Henry

In Patrick Henry’s “Speech in the Virginia Convention,” the use of parallelism and repetition allows Patrick Henry to justify his case for war. Henry employs parallelism to list the reasons to justify fighting for their rights against the English. “We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne (204)…”Henry uses the same grammatical pattern in the phrase, “we have” in order to emphasize the things they have done in order to try and reason with the English government. In another use of parallelism Henry states, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery(206)?” Henry uses comparison between life and liberty in order to persuade the people to join him in his ultimatum of liberty or death and fight back against the English for their liberty.

Patrick Henry also uses repetition to inform the colonist that something must be done about the English and it must be done soon. “We must fight, I repeat it, sir, we must fight!” (205) Henry is telling the people that they have to do something and that something is to fight back, there is no other option. Henry repeats himself for emphasis and persuasion in order to make sure his point is heard and understood by all. Henry also states, “The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.” (205) Henry is trying to persuade the people that the King sendinding over ships and war is unavoidable at this point so they might as well fight back. He is also restating “let it come” because he is fine with the war coming and he believes he is prepared to fight for his rights.

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Both restatements that Henry says, put a strong emphasis on his desire for war and how war is coming and the English have to be ready to fight.