Rhetorical Analysis of Jfk's Inaugural Address

Topics: Rhetoric, Question, Cold War Pages: 2 (491 words) Published: October 30, 2012
Rhetorical Analysis of JFK's Inaugural Speech

During the time JFK was elected president, our country was going through many hardships. After recovering from the Cold war, America needed a leader who would help bring peace and unity to the country. His Inaugural speech was encouraging and attempted to persuade the American's citizens to do just that. His speech gave them comfort and confidence in him, as a leader that they desperately needed at the time. He used many rhetorical strategies in his famous inaugural speech in order to convey his message and persuade the American people. Several of these were his use of antithesis and parallelism, hortative and imperative sentences, and also amphora.

JFK utilizes antithesis and parallelism many times in his speech to add strength to it. A few examples of this are "To those old allies"; "to those new allies"; "We shall support any friend, oppose any foe"; "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich"; and the most famous, " Ask not what your country can do for you- ask what you can do for your country." The use of this rhetorical strategy used many times in his speech sets a balanced contrast of his ideas by setting two opposites against each other and the parallel structure demonstrated makes it more rhythmic.

Kennedy also uses hortative and imperative sentence structure many times in his speech. Hortative sentences are sentences that urge or call people to action. He uses phrases like "let us," "Let both sides." to encourage people to take action in the earlier part of his speech. Then later on, he uses imperative sentence structure to encourage people to think individually. An example of this being, "Ask not what your country can do for you- ask what you can do for your country."

Another rhetorical strategy used many times in this speech is amphora, which is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or lines. An...
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