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Imagery Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Essay

AP English 3

11 September 2013
Rhetorical Analysis: Imagery
In the sermon, “Sinners In The Hands of An Angry God,” Jonathan Edwards utilizes imagery as one of the rhetorical devices in order to scare his audience back to the pious ways of the first generation Puritans. Edwards’ vivid descriptions of hell and eternal torment are examples of the emotional appeal pathos. He uses figurative language including metaphors, similes, and personification to illustrate this unfortunate scenario in the minds of his listeners. For example, Edwards’ states, “The devil is waiting for them, hell is gaping for them, the flames gather and flash about them, and would fain lay hold on them, and swallow them up…” (8-10). In this example the audience can clearly imagine the horrors of hell, which encourages them to look to God for salvation, thus also making use of logos as the audience rationalizes and considers the situation.

Hell is described as a “world of misery, that lake of burning brimstone…” (19-10), among many other things. The speaker/writer’s depictions of hell work to keep the audience members on their toes so they remember what they are doomed for if they dare to stray further from the Church or anger God even more than they have already done so. The rich imagery in this sermon is significant to the uniqueness of the piece because Edwards’ uses this literary device to scare the audience into compliance, and it serves as a main support for the author’s overall purpose, which is to get people to solidify ties to the Church.

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