Rhetorical Devices in Robert C Byrd’s "The arrogance of power"

One of the most effective ways to communicate with the crowd is through speech. Speeches, delivered correctly, can lift the will and revive morale. This is probably one of the best instruments to challenge one’s beliefs.

Speeches are not only based on intonation and the application of a large number of emotions. Its effectiveness is improved with the use of Rhetoric. Rhetorical language was used in oral communication even during the time of Plato and Socrates. Information and beliefs are creatively disseminated through the use of this magnificent device. Rhetoric is reflected in many ways. The use of figurative language is one of its famous ways. Playing with the syllables and sounds of words is another kind. These shapes, regardless of how they were designed, guarantee the flavor of a speech.

Let’s take a look at Robert C. Byrd’s speech, delivered on March 19, 2003, in the Senate in Washington, DC, which contains a generous amount of rhetorical resources.

In the first paragraph of the speech the lines appeared consecutively: “I have studied … I have glorified … I have marveled” (Byrds, 2003). The form consists mainly of the pair “I have” and then a verb in the past tense. This pattern is actually a rhetorical device known as Anaphora.

In the second paragraph another repetitive statement was presented. The lines, “Our friends distrust us; our word is disputed; our intentions are questioned.” Continuous negation of concepts in three indicates that the statement is an example of Tricolon. This rhetorical device is sometimes called the “Rule of Three” because it has three consecutive statements with the same pattern.

The sixth paragraph took a brief look back at the devastating event. What happened at the event was still fresh in people’s minds, so the reason for refreshing memory is discredited. Rather, it was said that the breakdown caused the audience to evoke their feelings during those moments. Asyndeton, was used to invoke these feelings again and bring them to a realization. The absence of conjunctions or connectors made the flow of the statement fluid and fast, enough for feelings to resurface.

“… Pentagon towards a tangible villain, one we can see and hate and attack. And he is a villain. But he is the wrong villain …” (Byrds, 2003) The villain we are referring to here is Saddam Hussein. There was a direct relationship with Saddam and a comparison with the way in which all his alleged crimes were sought to vindicate him. The villain here is clearly Saddam Hussein. In this statement a light and indirect use of the metaphor was described.

“What’s happening to this country ?! – my country, your country, our country?” Taken from the tenth paragraph is another example from Anaphora. The sentence made use of successive statements that are full of emotions that penetrate through the senses. The rhetorical device intensifies what is delivered with the use of succession.

“Why doesn’t this president seem to realize that America’s true power lies not in its willingness to intimidate, but in its ability to inspire?” (Byrds, 2003) A rhetorical question, left to be reflected by the audience before the end of the speech.

“Rhetorical devices in action” that is clearly presented in the speech. Rhetorical devices, in fact, spice up the speech in a more impressive appearance.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *