Analysis of Kennedy's Inagural Address

Topics: Nationalism, Audience, Audience theory Pages: 3 (825 words) Published: January 21, 2014
John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address of 1961 is a classic example of a speech that makes excellent use of a variety of Rhetorical strategies. His use of archaic diction, oxymoron’s, parallelism, allusions and tone helped create a sophistication and eloquence that had a more powerful and patriotic impact on his audience. It helped establish his creditability and be able to transmit assurance and hope to his audience. The use of these strategies allowed him to outline his purpose of communicating to the nation that he is coming to power to help establish unity, and bring patriotism, and fend for the rights of not just those in the United States, but for the rights of those who reach out to the nation and to those countries that it will protect.

Kennedy wrote “And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe…….” His use of archaic diction gives his speech eloquence and sophistication that allows him to establish credibility, obtains his audiences attention, and maintain it. It helps him to remind his audience of his purpose of protecting their rights, that he knows the tribulations that they faced and that he is also willing to fight to preserve what the founders fought for valiantly. He quotes them to reassure the nation that he knows the expectations and is willing to meet them.

“-Born in this century tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace…..” his use of this oxymoron helped create a clear understanding of the incongruity of feelings the nation has. How they are not subduing themselves to the desire for war is still a float in their minds. By referencing the past challenges he reassures his audience that they will also be able to overcome them not as individuals but as a whole. The oxymoron describes the mixed emotions of their past and how they have been able to overcome and prosper through issues they faced as a nation, and using an oxymoron helps transmit those emotions and...
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