Rhetorical Analysis Of John Fitzgerald Kennedy's Speech

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John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Junior’s, speech at his inaugural address in 1961 is undeniably a masterpiece of the persuasive arts. Although the speech is short as such speeches go, and although its main persuasive device is pathos alone, the masterful skill with which Kennedy’s speech is written makes it one of the most moving and effective political speeches to date. Kennedy’s vivid use of diction and metaphor, as well as his extremely memorable syntax, are particularly strong and successful. Every intelligent debater, speech-writer, and generally argumentative person knows that there are three main techniques which can be used to manipulate an audience and engage them in the speaker’s topic and purpose: ethos, logos, and pathos. Kennedy wisely sticks to using pathos throughout his entire speech, rather than relying on his then-minimal ethos or allowing his stirring speech to become bogged down by logos represented by the dull facts and figures of statistics. As a very young President just starting his first term, Kennedy lacks the reputation and reliability that an older, more experienced politician might have available. While it is true that most of the nation had seen him on television during the Nixon-Kennedy Presidential debates, those debates were the near-total of the people’s exposure to the dashing young President, and a pretty face does not a solid political reputation make! However, no matter how dashing and heroic he might have appeared to be in those

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