Patrick Henry Rhetorical Analysis Paper
In 1775, during a time of political unrest, Patrick Henry addresses the delegates of the Virginia convention about the “question of freedom or slavery”. Through the use of juxtapositions allusions, and metophors, Patrick Henry successfully gains support for the revolutionary cause and the colonial struggle for freedom. Henry referrs to Juxtapositions to make himself sound more credible, therefore building his ethos as he goes on with his speech. I should consider myself as guilty of treason toward my country and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven which I revere above all earthly kings. ” Henry attempts to explain to the delegates that the topic he is about to address is very controzvertial.
He makes it clear that some will disagree with the forthcoming conversation, yet proceeds, feeling as if he would be betraying his country and God if he didn’t bring the problems that were currently troubling the colonies to the attention of the common man.He therefore established the idea of putting God before the King. The juxtaposition in this quote identifies itself by mentioning “the majesty of heaven” next to “earthly kings”, in which he is comparing the priorities of his worship in which King George falls short to the influence and significance of God in Henry’s life. The purpose of using this specific example of a Juxtaposition was to show that Henry puts the will of his God before King George, showing a contrast of authority which also appeals to ethos.By claiming himself as “guilty of treason” he is making an, by other means, unacceptable argument acceptable, therefore building trust and support in his thesis.
Allusions play a crucial role in the speech of Patrick Henry, since they significantly aided his credibility to gain support from the delegates of Virginia. “Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. ” The patriot attempts to convince the delegates that by listening to him and considoring his proposals that they will be able to avoid putting themselves into a situation in which they would be betrayed.The allusion in this quote is obvious, since it’s one very well known from the bible. It references the story of Judas who betrayed Jesus with a kiss, later leading to Jesus’ crucifiction, which reflects upon the colonists getting betrayed by the British that protested the new taxation laws. It’s purpose is to build his ethos and improve his credibility among his audience.
Henry’s use of allusions proves itself to be very efffective due to the fact that his speech is being held in a church in the mid-eighteenth century, a time where most people were very persistant in religion.This connection between the bible story what made the excerpt so rhetorically effective resulting in the delegates wanting to believe that Henry is right about the insidious intentions of King Goerge and to lead them the right way and not let them be “betrayed with a kiss”. It is obvious that Henry liked to induce his audience’s thought by using Metaphors, which Henry evidently liked to do in his public speaking by appealing to pathos and ethos at the same time. “I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided that that is the lamp of experience. In this quote Henry claims to be able to guide the people because he’s experienced.
It seems to have multiple purposes: metaphors are often intented to make the audience think on it’s own and to persuade them into thinking in the direction the purpose subtlely leads them and making them think it was their own original idea. This particilular Metaphor also appealed to pathos, dipping into the audience’s emotions and provoking them. Henry’s use of the “lamp” in the metaphor is used wisely to ensure the audience he can be trusted, building his ethos.He attempts to convince the delegates that he is fit to take on the responsibility of guiding them because his “light” acts as experience. The “lamp” can be seen as a symbol of light, clarity and guidance all of which are aspects that appeal to pathos while at the same time he is building his persona as a better leader, building his ethos. In conclusion, through Henry’s use of allusions, juxtapositions and metaphors he is successfully rhetorically effective to gain support from the delegates of Virginia to fight for a revolutionary cause for freedom, even in a time of such political unrest.