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Dramatic Appeal In Two Famous Speeches

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“We must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight!” Emotional and logical appeal plays a great part in the “Sinners in the hands of an angry God” and the “Speech in the Virginia convention”. The emotions in both of these speeches bring them to life by the use of repetition, rhetorical questions, and imagery. Patrick Henry and Jonathan Edwards both apply similar persuasive techniques, but they differ in the type of appeal to their audiences.

“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” uses repetition, rhetorical questions, and imagery to create a state of panic and fear. “The pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace is now hot, ready to receive them, the flames do now rage and glow” shows the repetition emphasizes the reality feel. It leaves fear in the hearts of sinners. “Who knows the power of God’s anger”? is a rhetorical question that belittles the Puritans” knowledge of a revengeful God. This is another great rhetorical question in this speech because it leaves the audience wondering the answer to it. Rhetorical questions serve as two purposes; first to communicate and second to persuade the audience. It makes the audience consider the idea with little time to adopt their own opinion. Jonathan Edwards asks a lot of rhetorical questions to only make hell seem worse. Edwards also uses a lot of imagery to target the senses. One good quote he uses is “The glittering sword is whet …” This quote suggests that the sword is razor sharp and ready to take its next sinful victim. The depth of his imagery in Edwards speech is unique and unlike any others.

In comparison to Jonathan Edward’s speech, Patrick Henry’s persuasive speech also uses repetition, rhetorical questions and imagery to better depict his speech. “…we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight!” is used in Henry’s speech to present the dire need to go to war. “…and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come!” is a comparison to the first quote because he is saying the war cannot be avoided so come forth. Henry uses oodles of rhetorical questions, such as “Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house?” He is suggesting that will they finally have the will to fight only if and when British have already conquered them. One of the best rhetorical questions in the speech ends the speech on a strong note, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?” Henry is using both emotional and logical appeal to capture the audience. Henry has a special way of putting imagery into his speech, he does not say descriptive words, but the way it is read, the reader gets a sense of heighten emotion throughout the speech.

“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” and the “Speech in the Virginia Convention” displayed a lot of comparison through literary devices it had contrast also. The contrast is that each speech played off of emotional and logical appeal. “Sinners in the hands of an Angry God” was primarily based off emotional appeal. Edward’s described vividly the pains and torment you will receive in hell, “The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as the one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you… his wrath toward you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into fire. He described that you are nothing in hell and that you will burn. “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” played mostly off of the fears and emotions of the audience.

In contrast to the emotional appeal Patrick Edward’s speech, “Speech in the Virginia Convention” by Patrick Henry, had more of a logical appeal to the audience. Henry demanded that the war was on its way and there was no way to stop it. Henry wanted to prepare the colony for war in hopes they could possibly defeat the British and be free of their rulings. The quote “If we wish to be free… we must fight! I repeat sir we must fight!” shows Henry’s emphasis on how the war is important. Patrick Henry based his speech more on logical appeal.

“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” and the “Speech in the Virginia Convention” both used compared by using literary devices such as repetition, rhetorical question and imagery. Both speeches were based on different appeals but both succeed in their goals on persuading their audience.

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