A Rhetorical Analysis Of The Destructive Male By Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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In “The Destructive Male” by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, rhetoric is employed to persuade the reader or listeners to acknowledge and grant women equal rights. Stanton also creates a tone of zealous outrage and accusation with her use of literary devices such as alliteration and personification. Shortly after the United States Civil War, Elizabeth Cady Stanton delivered her speech at the Women’s Suffrage Convention in 1868 (Bjornlund). Stanton had to appeal to the crowd of men and women, conservatives and liberals, and even government officials by showing how women benefit the world and deserve to have the same opportunities as men to make a difference and have the freedom to vote. Stanton discusses people’s inherent relationship with God to …show more content…

Throughout her speech, Stanton shows that in history men have caused destruction and have been detrimental to society. In “pages of history,” she references the malice and animosity among men (Stanton). The years shortly before Stanton presented this speech were permeated with the nefariousness of the Civil War (Bjornlund). As such, her statement that the “record of blood and cruelty” that men have left on history, works to justify Stanton’s point that women help balance the persecution placed on the Earth by men (Stanton). Similarly, Stanton discusses how men placed “black codes” on other men and thereby restrict those whom are viewed to have equal power as them (Stanton). Women, on the other hand, are portrayed by Stanton to be the solution to injustices between men and women alike. Stanton’s use of historical examples of man’s inhumanity to man shows it is only logical that, to prevent further unfairness, women should help make decisions. Stanton also shows that men represent “half a complete being” and thus have only half of an idea and half an understanding in all subject matters (Stanton). The other half comes from women and logically women must have the rights to share their opinion in order to complete ideas. With a world history filled with torment, Stanton shows that the Earth can only be healed with the help of …show more content…

For example, alliteration is used continuously in Stanton’s speech to emphasize the pain faced by humanity due to men’s carelessness. With the “discord, disorder, disease, and death” men have caused in society, women are portrayed as the solution to calm the pain and balance the world (Stanton). Again alliteration is used to show how the “slavery, slaughter, and sacrifice” in the world had become an epidemic due to the negligence of a male dominated society (Stanton). Personification is also used to illustrate how men are destructive, while women are benevolent. While humanity’s soul is portrayed “struggling” for centuries, a female “mercy has veiled her face” (Stanton). Mercy is portrayed as a female force because of her altruism and compassion in a world that is filled with constant conflict. By portraying a kind force as female, Stanton reiterates how women have the ability to change not only violent actions, but a violent world. Nature is also illustrated as a “loving mother” to show that if Mother Nature can control all of the Earth and keep it in harmony, women have this same feminine power (Stanton). The use of literary devices throughout Stanton’s speech affirms the oppression of women and the prevalence of women’s ability to stabilize society, even in times of discord, by subtly placing the worldly imbalance as the

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