Rhetoric In Patrick Henry's Speech

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“Rhetorics in Patrick Henry’s Speech” During the tension before the American Revolution, colonial outlook on freedom was bleak. Governor Patrick Henry conveyed the urge for retaliation against Great Britain in his speech at the Virginia Convention. In Patrick Henry’s speech “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death,” he uses rhetorical devices, such as logos and pathos to instill the drive in the Convention to rebel against Great Britain and its tyrannical rule. Patrick Henry lived in colonial Virginia in the 1700s. He was governor of the state multiple times and was an outspoken opponent of British taxes against the colonies. Henry became so staunchly against the British taxes that he spoke directly to the governing body of Virginia at the Virginia…show more content…
Pathos is an appeal that evokes emotion or intense feelings. The use of this appeal in Henry's speech conveyed his point to the melodramatic Convention members. To elicit passion upon his contemporaries, Henry mentioned the biblical story of the Children of Israel, more specifically the Bible verse Exodus 14:14. The book of Exodus tells the story of the Israelites deliverance from slavery to the Egyptians. Henry draws comparisons to colonial times when he says, “There is no retreat, but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged, their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston!” (Lines 58-59). Henry feels as if the colonists are as desperate and exasperated as the Children of Israel. Moses, the leader of the Israelites, promised to them that God would carry them through the battle of dealing with Pharaoh. Henry uses a direct reference to Exodus 14:14 when he says, “There is a just God...to fight our battles for us” (Line 10). The direct scripture quote is, “The Lord will fight for you while you keep still.” The allusion to the Exodus story triggers the pathos reaction of the audience. The reassurance of God’s protection would allow Henry’s audience, the Virginia Convention, to give way for a relation against Great Britain. Without Patrick Henry’s use of rhetorical appeals in his speech “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death,” America may have never
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