Analysis of Pericles Funeral Oration

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Abdulaziz Alrediny

History (Core 102)

06 – 05 – 2012

Professor: M. Swanson

Funeral Oration by Pericles

In the Aftermath of the Peloponnesian war between Athens and Sparta, Pericles, Athens’ general and statesmen, delivered a powerfully comforting eulogy to the polis of Athens, assuring the people that their city state is in good hands, and easing the pain of all the families and relatives of the deceased. He uses several rhetorical devices throughout his speech to gain a positive emotional appeal by his audience and makes assertions in the attempt to enhance and transform the perception of him by the audience. Pericles makes a very significant statement when he says, “Our form of government does not enter into rivalry with the institutions of others.” Pericles as evidenced by this statement wants to let other nations know that the way Athens is governing, does not disturb the way other nations rule, nor does it try to challenge other system/forms of government. The key word he uses in this phrase is rivalry, which he uses to emphasize the fact that there is no competition or race whatsoever of governing ways amongst other nations. Pericles feels like the way Athens is ruling does not clash with others. In other to justify his claim, he states, “Our government does not copy our neighbors’, but is an example to them.” Pericles is using that statement to console the audience present, letting them know that the fighters who perished, died in a winning cause, but at the same time, he affirms that Athens, is the best because it is being an “example” to other nations, rather than copying them. Pericles goes on to say that “ It is true that we are called a democracy, for the administration is in the hands of the many and not of the few.” Pericles tactic here is assuming that everyone already knows that the government is a democracy because the majority, rather than a minority controls it. He then refers to the government as “administration” which should...
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