Rhetorical Devices In The Gettysburg Address

1244 Words5 Pages

Abraham Lincoln delivered “ The Gettysburg Address” in response to The Battle of Gettysburg. Over 51,000 casualties on both sides in the course of 3 days makes it the bloodiest battle of The Civil War. The Union won the battle, but Lincoln’s speech focused on uniting the country, not the victory itself (“Battle of Gettysburg”). His speech has remained popular due to its brevity and effectiveness.
Lincoln begins his speech with the words, “Four score and seven years ago.” In the Bible, Psalms 90:10 uses this same diction with, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten.” Beginning with a biblical allusion initiates a sense of unity among the audience because, at the time, most Americans shared common religious beliefs. This also serves …show more content…

He uses strong, inspirational language like, “great task”, “devotion”, “freedom”, etc. This further serves to motivate the audience. By saying, “last full measure of devotion”, Lincoln employs more poetic words than just, “gave their lives”, which shows the soldiers gave everything they had and the audience needs to complete their mission of uniting the nation. Lincoln includes an allusion to the Pledge of Allegiance with the words, “under God”, to return to the idea of the beginning fundamentals of the country and how they brought us together. He again employs asyndeton with, “of the people, by the people, for the people”, which also shows unity as a country. Lincoln finishes the paragraph by saying, “shall not perish from the earth.” Saying this instead of, “will live forever”, reminds the audience of the possible death of the country if they do not accomplish the goal of …show more content…

As president, he had invested interest in uniting the country. He had a vast knowledge of the current events and how they could potentially affect the future of America. His references to the Declaration of Independence, God, and the Bible also establish ethos. By using “we”, he establishes ethos by creating a sense of belonging. Lincoln spoke in simple, colloquial words throughout the speech, further building ethos with the audience. He did not use complex words to confuse them, he used small words in a further attempt to relate to the audience.
He incorporates pathos in his speech through phrases like, “rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced”. This reminds the audience of the sacrifice of the soldiers and evokes compassion for the men. Using phrases like, “great task” and “brave men, living and dead” also establishes pathos because it adds passion and emotion to Lincoln’s words. His use of pathos makes the audience feel the weight of their responsibility as well as appreciation of the servicemen that gave their

Open Document