Annotation of Three Great Speeches
Since rhetoric is the art of effective communication, its principles can be applied to many facets of everyday life. “I am a Berliner” is the unforgettable speech that was delivered by John F. Kennedy in front of hundreds of Berliners on the balcony of City Hall in West Berlin on June 26, 1963. It was considered one of the best rhetorical speeches ever given. On May 12, 1962, General Douglas MacArthur gave his Sylvanus Thayer Award Acceptance Address. Throughout his speech, MacArthur does a great job of stirring emotion, using vivid language, repetition, and metaphors. On April 3, 1968, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” was one of Kings’ powerful speeches. It remains a noteworthy example of his rhetoric because it was structured around many metaphors. Through the use of people’s opinions, views and emotions through their memorable speeches, these great writers used many rhetorical devices. Some prevalent aesthetic features in John F. Kennedy’s speech, “I am a Berliner,” are his use of personification, allusion and repetition. After his introduction, Kennedy flows right into a series of statements he perceives to be myths about Communism and follows each of them with “Let them come to Berlin.” The repetition of this phrase created a feeling of strength and only intensified the idea that Kennedy was determined to convince the people of Berlin of America’s support. Through the rhetorical strategies of repetition, played himself as an insider among the audience, and playing upon emotions of listeners, Kennedy was able to establish himself as not only a powerful force in the States, but intentional as well. Kennedy also employs an allusion in the great Roman boast “civis Romanus sum” (Kennedy 1963) to add flavor and character to his new boast, “Ich bin ein Berliner.”...
Cited: * Kennedy, John F. “Ich Bin Ein Berliner.” Hope for the Reunification of Germany. Rudolph Wilde Platz. West Berlin, Germany. 26 June 1963. Speech.
* King, Marin. “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” Sanitation Workers Strike. Mason Temple. Memphis, Tennessee. 03 April 1968. Speech.
* MacArthur, Douglas. “Thayer Award Acceptance Address.” The Sylvanus Thayer Medal Award. United States Academy. West Point, New York. 12 Mat 1962. Address.
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