Rhetorical Strategies In Patrick Henry's Persuasive Speech

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On March 23, 1775 patriotic Patrick Henry gave a powerful persuasive speech to encourage the colonists to fight for liberty. Henry was born on May 29, 1736 in a farmhouse located in Studley, Virginia.Henry became the governor of Virginia, attorney, planter, and a politician. He was well know as a great orator during the movement for independence in Virginia. One of Henry’s most effective well known speech was held in St. John’s Church, Richmond, Virginia. After King George had declared all thirteen american colonies to be in a state rebellion, Henry decided to make a call for action in order to prepare for war against them. In order to captivate his audience and make them understand his message, Henry used rhetorical strategies. In his famous…show more content…
The first allusion Henry used in the speech is, the song of the sirens. Henry states, “ We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts”. The song of the siren is an allusion to greek myth, the story tells of Odysseus and the time mystical women tempted him and his crew to death, by attracting them with their beautiful voices. Henry used this allusion to represent that it obvious for humans to hope for something, even when the hope is not reasonable.Yet a person could have such high blind hopes and ignores reality of the situation, therefore ending in the same destiny as those who let themselves be fooled by the sirens who either became beasts or died. A biblical allusion Henry used in his speech referred to the betrayal of Jesus , “Trust it not sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss”. This is an allusion to the time Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Henry represented Judas as Great Britain and Jesus as Henry’s audience. This compares the false established association with Britain to Judas betrayal of Jesus. Jesus considered the kiss of Judas as an act of union, but ultimately lead to his ruin and finally his death. Henry used these and many other allusions to only further persuade his audience to take a
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