October 28, 2011
Rhetorical Analysis Essay
The Gettysburg Address
Speeches, radio, television, conversation, newspaper and magazine articles, songs, websites — we are constantly surrounded by rhetoric. Whether or not we are aware of its value, it encompasses our daily actions. There are three important elements of rhetoric in which we encounter daily: the appeal to emotions, feelings, and values (pathos), the use of character to establish credibility and trustworthiness (ethos), and the appeal to reason or facts (logos).
A respectively, well-known speech that distinctly incorporates each element of rhetoric is the address President Abraham Lincoln gave at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863, commonly known as the “Gettysburg Address.” Orton Carmichael, author of the “Gettysburg Address” stated, “Greatness in a speech, like greatness in men, or in events, is usually recognized only when seen through the haze of distance which the passing years bring”. Often in hindsight, such speeches are recognized as just that. The “Gettysburg Address” is one held of high regard, and the analysis of its rhetorical elements nonetheless fortifies its significance.
The situation surrounding the address was very emotional, and president Lincoln pleaded to the audience’s emotion by using various forms of pathos. Only two years into the war and the United States had suffered the greatest number of American servicemen deaths, more than the Vietnam War and the world wars combined. Lincoln was speaking to an audience that was filled with grief and anger at the devastating loss of so many of its people. They were exhausted from this long, brutal war. Lincoln first began by acknowledging the emotional state of the country. He referenced the extreme difficulty even a nation “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” would experience in the long, drawn-out war. He proceeded to use this emotional state to further inspire hope to all those who were disheartening. He encouraged the nation to persevere and to continue fighting for the sake of those who had gone before them, already giving up their ultimate sacrifice. He gave the nation a sense of confidence in the their ability to survive. These emotions were particularly important in restoring confidence and faith in both the lives of everyday Americans and those fighting for their country.
... do what is right. Gettysburg Address is a short speech that United States President Abraham Lincoln delivered during the American Civil War at the site of ... the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. ...
Lincoln failed to use vivid picturing of events; however, he spoke of the “final resting place” and that those gathered on that day would come together to consecrate. The phrase “final resting place” carries a great deal of emotion; the people were actually there, they were standing on the battlefield where so many had willingly given their lives for their nation. The setting of the address was emotionally powerful in itself; the audience could simply look around at the battlefield to see quite literally what had taken place there. “The Gettysburg Address” uses small, identifiable, common words as well as honorific language to add emotional effectiveness to the situation. Lincoln includes many references to dedication and incorporates the repetition of consecration. He mentions specific words like “nobly”, “hallow”, “devotion”, and “honored” that also add to the emotional appeal. Lincoln reiterates the importance that the country continue “the great task” initiated by “the brave men, living and dead, who struggled” for the well being of the nation. He wanted his audience to recognize the weight of such a responsibility that had fallen into their control. He wanted them to be filled with national pride and gratitude for the sacrifices that their fellow servicemen had put forth.
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America, summed up the ideals that would go on to shape one of the most powerful nations of the world. Although President Lincoln’s speech was about ten lines, in which he delivered in two minutes, he moved not just the people who had gathered for the honoring of the soldiers who bravely gave their lives in Gettysburg while fighting for ...
The second element Lincoln establishes in his “Gettysburg Address” is ethos, his overall credibility and trustworthiness. Although he does not incorporate any ethos directly in this speech, Lincoln’s position as President of the country gives his the upmost credibility. He was very well acquainted with the situation and spoke to the nation with confidence and certainty. He was also known for his genuine kindness and care for all, characteristics that added to his good character. Lincoln used the collective word “we” to diminish the distance between him and his citizens. He portrayed a strong sense of belonging: “We [must] take increased devotion”, “it is for us [. . . ] to be dedicated”, “we here highly resolve”. Lincoln intentionally chose to include shorter, more common words in his address. He spoke simply and eloquently, rather than appearing more intelligent or superior to his audience. Instead of using fancy or arrogant language, Lincoln appealed to everyone equally by choosing specific words that were easily understood by all. This created good will towards his audience; he never appeared to be condescending or above their level. Lincoln spoke as one of his audience, further closing the rhetorical distance and remaining considerate of their needs and hopes. Likewise, shorter sentences are often more effective and powerful when addressing a significant amount of people. His words were strung together in such a way that will never be forgotten, despite what Lincoln had predicted. Each of these techniques helps build Lincoln’s reliability as president, or element of ethos.
In addition to elements of pathos and ethos, Lincoln uses logos in his “Gettysburg Address”, although to a lesser extent. He refers to the audience’s sense of reason and logic while reiterating commonly held beliefs. He encourages the nation to pursue their duty in finishing the work begun by those who had died. By using deductive reasoning, Lincoln makes the major premise that equality and liberty in a nation are worth fighting for. A minor premise depicted in the “Gettysburg Address” is that fighting (and dying) for what you believe in is honorable. The conclusion that Lincoln wants his audience to withdraw is that if equality and liberty are the honorable characteristics that the men and women of their country fought and died for, then they are the qualities worthy enough to continue their fight. Lincoln’s fundamental goal through this conclusion was to encourage his country to persevere in its struggle for freedom and equality. Through this address, he also sought to preserve the value of these qualities and, ultimately, his nation.
LINCOLN AT GETTYSBURG The Battle of Gettysburg was the largest battle in the Americas history, raged from July 1 to July 3, 1863. It was a crucial event in the Civil War ended the Confederacys second invasion of the North. After the battle, the community of Gettysburg was packed of dead and injured men. The Governor of Pennsylvania authorized the purchase of a cemetery for the reburial of the ...
The “Gettysburg Address” is one of the most well understood and effective speeches in the United State’s history. Using elements of pathos, ethos, and logos, Lincoln appeals to the audience’s reason and emotions, while relying upon his situated ethos. Aside from a somewhat poetic element, two characteristics mark Lincoln’s literary style. He demonstrates great comprehension of great ideas, and then uses these ideas and their logical relations to express explicit language that is condensed and perfectly simple.
Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest speakers of all time. In analyzing the “Gettysburg Address”, his use of pathos, ethos, and logos is evidence of Lincoln’s persuasiveness and trustworthiness. Unlike some of the subconscious rhetoric that we see in every day situations, Lincoln’s speech clearly identifies all three rhetorical elements. Though his original audience was limited to those gathered on the battlefield at Gettysburg that day in 1863, Lincoln predicted that no one would remember his simple address. Today, the “Gettysburg Address” remains one of the most powerful speeches in history.