Rhetorical appeals in speech delivery can be defined as a mode of persuasion that allows a writer or a speaker to persuade his/her audience to believe in a particular agenda or point of view. This paper will analyze the use of the various modes of persuasion in JFK’s speech. This includes the use of techniques such as ethos, pathos and logos.
Ethos is a form of persuasion that emanates from the speaker’s character and his/her grasp of the information he/she intends to deliver. In his speech, we find that the speaker is able to effectively articulate his knowledge of the events that have led to the current situation. He is able to attract his audience by the use of the immense knowledge he hold and this shows his passion for the course. This helps to show the audience of his unwavering desire to make a change, thus he is able to persuade his audience to believe in him. In paragraph one, the speaker goes ahead to proclaim that he has sworn before his audience and the Almighty God that this is a worthy cause. He has given himself as a servant of the people and in such respect, he is able to convince his audience to believe his speech. This claim is advanced towards the end of the speech where he commits to the course and says the following words “I do not shrink from this responsibility”(paragraph 24, p3).
Having said so, the speaker has resulted in using the other two forms of rhetorical appeals in his speech and minimized the use of self-proclamation, as discussed below.
Pathos is a form of rhetorical appeal that is used by the speaker to invoke certain feelings among the audience. These include feelings such as pity, anger or hope. With this form of appeal, the speaker is able to create a certain mindset among his/her audience. In his speech, JFK creates a mindset of hope for tomorrow, that his audiences have a role to play if change is to be manifested and this helps to draw certain feelings from the audience. In paragraph two and three, JFK reminds the audience that the world is a different place now and it is up to man, the audience to fight for their rights. He reminds the people that blessings come from God and not man, and that the people ought not to forget that they are the custodians of the future generations (paragraph 2, p1). This sparks a feeling of hope and desire among the audience to be part of the revolution. Paragraph three goes ahead to get a descriptive view of the situation where he instills among his audience the level of responsibility they hold towards the course ahead. Paragraph seven, eight and nine exhibits the pathos technique where the speaker paints a picture of those struggling to break the bonds of misery. He goes ahead to assure them of a brighter future, ” let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americans.”(paragraph 9, p1).
Logos is a form of rhetorical appeal, the writer uses facts and figures as well as reason to appeal to his audience. JFK his largely used this mode to convince his audience. The speaker first reminds the audience that they are the first heirs of revolution and that they should take this responsibility wholeheartedly. He has impeccable knowledge of the history that has led to the current situation and has used this severally in his speech. The speaker has facts about the injustices that have been going on and the efforts that have been made thus far. All through his speech he has cited various facts that have helped the audience grasp the importance of the events. He has been able to convey the importance of other forms of dialogue instead of instruments of war (paragraph 9, p1). He has been able to articulate the effects of war arms and the need to control the same (paragraph 13, p2). Using facts the speaker has also been able to appeal to other nations that share their cultural beliefs and struggle for change and these facts all help in persuading the audience.
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