Saving Private Ryan Commentary

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In the movie Saving Private Ryan, American soldier private James Ryan losses all three of his brothers during World War Two. The Marshall, not wanting to allow a mother to lose all four of her sons gives orders to send a unit to find and rescue private Ryan, despite the possibility of letting many men die to save one mans life. In order to gain his staff's support for this decision the Marshall reads them a letter written by Abraham Lincoln to a mother who lost five sons during the civil war which contains various rhetorical techniques such as: ethos, allusions, as well as pathos coupled with powerful diction. Through these rhetorical techniques this letter is able to make a strong emotional impact on any viewers which is used by the Marshall as a tool of persuasion to effectively gain the support of his staff.

“I leave you only the cherished memory of the loved, lost and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.” The ethos of soldiers who fight for their countries, and die for their countries is unquestionable, they line up right next to a countries leader on a level of ethos projected to an audience. The Marshall uses this ethos to instill a sense of duty in his staff, the duty to go rescue Private Ryan so that his mother does not have to grieve over the loss of all of her children. A soldier who has lost three brothers makes people feel a sense of indebtedness because of the character behind someone who has sacrificed so much for their country, this ethos brought on from the context of private James Ryan influences the staff of the Marshall to agree with him. This coupled with the patriotic and sad feeling that everyone in the room has after hearing about the mother who lost five sons during the civil war makes all the staff ready to go prevent another mother from losing all her children. “Yours, very sincerely and respectfully, Abraham Lincoln.” The president of all people perhaps carries with him...
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