Aspeech should have a positive impression and encourage the audienceto make some changes. However, achieving this effect is not easy andit requires the use of various persuasive techniques such as therhetorical devices. These techniques have been used in some of thegreat speeches by famous people and leaders in history. Some of therhetorical devices include antithesis and persuasive appeals such asethos, pathos, and logos.
Thepersuasive appeals combine the use of logic, emotions, andcredibility to make the speech more memorable and convincing. Logospersuades the listeners to reason according to certain criteria basedon the information provided by the speaker. For example, SusanAnthony used logos several times in her speech when advocating forwomen’s voting right. Anthony explains that it is logical for womento vote because the Fourteenth Amendment stipulates that it waslegal. She also explains that the Democratic-Republican governmentwas based on the idea that everyone had the right to vote for his orher preferred leaders. Anthony points out that America was founded onthe idea that everyone is part of a democratic nation. Therefore, apolitical and social practice that excludes some people fromexercising their constitutional privileges is against the conceptused by the founding fathers. This allows Anthony to form acompelling argument based on the country’s laws and constitution.
Pathoscreates an emotional response that convinces the audience thatspeaker’s argument is correct. During his second inaugural speech,Lincoln uses pathos to appeal to the emotions of his listeners. Forexample, he states that despite the war, there was no hatredintended. He also forgives the Confederates who owned slaves andinstigated the war with the North. Additionally, he allows theConfederates to have political power and wealth, a statement thatprovoked an emotional response from the listeners. He also talksabout offenses that occurred during the war but encourages the peopleto strive for peace and healing. Lincoln invokes the listeners toquestion if God wants the war to go on and if the Confederates aregoing against God’s divine attributes. For example, he refers toAmerica as God’s widow and his orphan that needs care, so thatAmerica may achieve and cherish peace among all nations.
Onthe other hand, ethos is used to emphasize on the speakerscredibility thus, allowing the audience to trust him or her. Forexample, Jackson’s message to the Seminoles indicates that he hasnever nor will he ever mislead them. The words create a sense oftrust because the readers are more likely to believe and agree withsomeone who they know is trustworthy. Jackson also apologizes to theSeminoles because they have been listening to bad counsel thus, itpositions him as the most reliable person to advise them.
Anotherrhetorical device is the antithesis, which presents contrasting ideasin the same sentence to emphasize a particular point. The techniqueclarifies the meaning of the thesis by bringing out its contrast. Forexample, during the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln uses antithesis whencontrasting the actions of the soldiers to the notion of sacrifice.Additionally, he distinguishes between the living and dead tomotivate the survivors to commit to a goal of the soldiers whosacrificed their lives. Therefore, it creates a purpose for thespeech and focuses on the audience who supported the union and itssoldiers.
Inconclusion, the rhetorical devices enhance the flow of the speech andoffer the speaker the chance to clarify the most important parts ofthe message. Accordingly, they stress the message and captureattention to ensure that the audience can recall the important partsof the speech.