Obama Inaugural Speech Rhetorical Devices

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In President Barack Obama’s 2012 Inaugural Speech it is evident that he uses many rhetorical devices. A few examples are allusion, foil, oxymoron, repetition, personification, sentenia, parallelism, and distinctio. Even though Obama uses multiple rhetorical devices, sentenia, repetition, and distincto are used most often. All three devices play a major role in meaning of the speech. The use of sentenia, repetition, and distinctio enhance the purpose of the speech. One prominent rhetorical device that President Obama uses in his inaugural speech is a sentenia. A sentenia is a maxim or wise saying. The purpose of a sentenia is to reference a well known saying, similar to an allusion. One example of a sentenia in the speech is, “Life, Liberty, …show more content…

A case of distinctio is when a writer elaborates on the definition of a word to make sure there is no misunderstanding. One example is, What makes us exceptional -- what makes us American”. Obama adds “what makes us American” to clarify that the people who are exceptional, are the Americans. Another example is, “ We the people, declare today that the most of evident truths -- that all of us are created equal”. To elaborate on the evident truths, Obama adds the example “that all of us are created equal”. It is necessary that President Obama extensively describes examples because the reader will understand better. And if the reader comprehends more of the passage, then the speech will be successful. Also, elaborating more on a specific point strengthens Obama's arguments. In general, the use of distinctio allows the reader to understand a greater portion of Obama’s speech. The use of sentenia, repetition and distinctio each add different meanings to President Obama’s inaugural speech. The employment of a sentenia adds connections to the past. Repetition is mainly practiced to emphasize many of Obama’s goals. And distinctio benefits the audience because it adds clarification to an example. All in all, Obama successfully used rhetorical devices to deepen the meaning of his Inaugural

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