Persuasive Analysis - Henry's Speech to the Virginia Convention

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  • Topic: Rhetoric, British Empire, Question
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Hieu Nguyen
Period 1
Persuasive Analysis - Henry's Speech to the Virginia Convention
Patrick Henry in the speech, "Speech to the Virginia Convention" suggest that the American Colonists join his cause to fight against Britain in order to gain liberty. Henry uses many rhetorical devices in order to persuade the audience to join his fight. Some of the devices Henry uses include ethos, logos, pathos, allusions, and so on. Even though most of Henry's logic benefited him in persuading his audience, there were some parts of his logic where he exaggerated too much as well.

In the speech to the Virginia Convention, Henry uses the rhetorical devices of ethos, pathos, rhetorical questions, and metaphors to his advantage in winning over the minds of the American colonists. Henry starts his speech by saying "My. President: No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House." Henry uses ethos to set a good image of himself. By saying that he thinks highly of patriotism, people will see his as a good man who knows what he is doing. "For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a questions of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate." Henry also uses ethos to make the colonist believe that he is a person who is fighting for the good of freedom. "I have but on lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience.' This is not only a metaphor, but an allusion that appeals to ethos and pathos as well. In metaphorically calling experience a lamp, he is saying that experience will show or "light" the way for the future. There is a Biblical allusion here to the scripture which that God's word is a "lamp unto thy feet and a light unto thy path." This is an appeal to authority (God or the Bible). This is also an appeal to ethos and pathos because it shows him as a spiritual person (ethos)...
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