Rhetorical Analysis Of Jonathan Edwards 'Great Awakening'

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During the Colonial Era, religion and worship played an important role in the quotidian lives of Puritans. Jonathan Edwards was an eloquent preacher and theologian who impacted many lives through sermons. Edwards's sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” persuaded individuals to worship Christ and ask forgiveness for their sins. This sermon left a strong lasting impact, one that would later trigger the Great Awakening from 1734 to 1750. In the sermon, Edwards uses many rhetorical strategies to assist in the influence of his sermon including appeals to pathos and ethos, imagery, and figurative language. Through an angry tone, Edwards connects to his audience, the Puritans of his congregation, to encourage their conversion and atonement for their sins.
Edwards establishes emotional appeals, pathos and later ethical appeals, ethos. Using appeals, he
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He juxtaposes alternatives to the previously mentioned and dreaded scenarios and punishments. Contrarily, he states “[Christ] stands in the door calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners” (129). Bringing upon the common idea of God’s acceptance, Edwards appeals to ethos in his final paragraph inserting cheerful thoughts. He establishes juxtaposition, comparing “sins in his own blood, and … hope of the glory of God” (129). Comparing the Devil-like blood with sins sparking the capable ability to reach the hope of God brings a sense of chance and possibility to the audience. The washing of sins with one’s blood in trade of embracing the love of God further adds to the ethical appeals and desire to seek forgiveness. Eliminating his previous condescending approach on sinners and their actions, Edwards encourages the escape from fear and guilt into the “rejoicing and singing for joy...” (129). Edwards’s shift in tone intricately leads the audience to desire completion of his
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