The Dying Negro Rhetorical Analysis

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Equiano suggests that the abolition of slavery will financially benefit Britain, and goes on to argue that the economic advantages are proof enough that ‘the abolition of slavery would be in reality an universal good.’ The last appeal is pathos, the pathetic appeal, used to persuade an audience by engaging their emotions. If used correctly, the rhetor can create a common sense of identity and rapport with his or her audience and strengthen the other appeals by using the audience’s emotion to his or her advantage. While abolitionist works make use of a combination of these three appeals, pathos is arguably the most influential means of persuasion. By correctly deploying this tactic, one can easily manipulate an audience into a vulnerable state…show more content…
Tears proved sensitivity to the suffrage of others. By including tear-inducing scenes, Day and Bicknell are able to take advantage of society’s addiction to strong emotions and feelings. They use this compulsion to evoke sympathy for the Dying Negro, and through metonymy, other slaves. The Dying Negro is not only referring to himself as he begs his love to weep over him; Day and Bicknell direct the Dying Negro’s pleas toward society as a whole in an effort to trigger an emotional response toward the treatment of slaves and the nature of the slave trade itself. The forceful separation from his lover, first physically and then later in death, is all too empathetic in its realism. The poem evokes a painful image which demands sympathy over the Dying Negro and his brethren’s plight, many whom share his and his lover’s fate. Lynn Festa argues ‘the power of Day’s poem to humanise it's speaker rests in part upon a sentimentalised vision of the encounter between innocent African victims and rapacious British traders…Pity rehumanises the slave both from his interlocutor’s perspective, and, significantly, from his own vantage point; it is because his beloved sees him as human that he regains his will to become so.’ Moreover, Day and Bicknell cast the Dying Negro as the sentimental hero in their poem, creating a valiant and noble character in defiance to society’s preconceived conceptions of Africans. In sentimental literature and poetry, the sentimental hero is heightened by his ability to empathise with others and react sensitively to what is happening around him. In Day and Bicknell’s poem, the Dying Negro soothes himself by imagining his lover with him, stating: What fond affection in my bosom reigns! What soft emotions mingle with my pains! Still as thy form before my minds
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