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The speeches chosen for this essay are from George Bush and Leonardo DiCaprio; Bush’s speech is written and DiCaprio’s is spontaneous. The purpose of Bush’s speech is to uplift the American citizens after the 911 attack, it is to persuade the people of America to stand strong and to unite against the terrorists; whereas, DiCaprio’s speech was to inform the audience about climate change. Antithesis is a technique that will be used to analyse the chosen speeches.
Twelve hours after the 9/11 terror attacks in America, Bush is seen at his desk during the speech but still remains to be sat up right in a confident manner to show that he is an authoritative figure, which is important for a world leader.
Bush is in the white house, this shows strength as that is where presidents are found. Bush is dressed in a business suit; this is to remain professional. Bush begins with a calm voice, letting the people know what had happened and that as their president and leader, he relates with his audience and their loss.
He then begins to speak with a confident voice, reminding America that he is a strong leader and that no acts of terror could break the spirit of America. Bush also begins to speak with a stern voice – his sternness is aimed at those who were responsible for the attacks. Bush remains calmn, this is seen as more effective than if he were to cause a scene. Bush’s facial expression varies from a look of concern to empathize with the audience and a stern look to intimidate those who were involved with the attack (Baker, 2014).
In Bush’s speech is sincere throughout, which makes it easier to persuade using emotive language; this is where Pathos is found. He uses antithesis in his sentence “terrorist attacks can shake the foundation of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America.” The concept of America is that it is a place of dreams and opportunities; he states that even though buildings were destroyed, nobody can destroy the dream that is America, he uses this metaphor to add sincerity and meaning to his statement. Bush also uses Logos in his speech; he gives one example of factual based information such as the message of how urgent and tragic the situation is but with little information, “pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, first burning – huge structures collapsing.” Following up with “Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government emergency se plan” – this was also used to ensure trust into the audience that their president acted quickly and professionally without panic. Bush uses Ethos in his speech to appeal to the ethics found in the American people; he speaks about human values and the freedom of America (Wang, 2012). Anaphora is used to emphasize the importance of how badly America was affected by the tragedy; he uses “our” as a personal pronoun because he wants the audience to know that it wasn’t just him who suffered that day, but the whole of America (Crutcher, 2012).
Bush uses analogies in his speech such as “we are the brightest beacon for freedom and no one will keep that light from shining” – he uses the word ‘beacon’ as an analogy to symbolise America as a bright light where dreams can happen. He states “no one will keep that light from shining” which makes the analogy come to life, it gives the audience something to hang onto, that even in such tragic events there is still hope. Bush uses metaphors in “These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve”, this usage of metaphors is to get a message across to the attackers, that they can try and break inanimate objects in America but they cannot break what they stand for and believe in, which is peace and dreams. Bush also uses metaphors to make his speech more intriguing to listen to (Bhogal, 2016).
This speech is spoken by a politic, Bush uses propaganda as a persuasive technique to make an influential speech, words such as ‘military’ and ‘federal agents’ are mentioned to tell the audience that there are enforces being put in place to protect America. Bush also uses imagery in his speech; in the sentence “the pictures of airplanes flying into buildings – “paints a picture in the audience’s mind of what happened that day. Bush makes the speech more personal by adding a bible verse; “Pslam 23: even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are with me” this offers comfort to the audience, the usage of the word “evil” stirs emotion and strikes at the audience’s hearts. Throughout the speech Bush uses personal pronouns such as ‘our nation’, this is to make the speech more personal, it puts across to the audience that it’s not just his country but it’s also the audience’s country. He uses this to sympathize with his fellow citizens; “we stand together to win the war against terrorism” this is also a usage of propaganda, because it’s their common beliefs that makes them a great nation (Chambers, 2012).
Bush’s speech could be seen as biased because it is from one person’s point of view and opinion; some people might have felt angry rather than sad and in disbelief, Bush uses formal language which is what the audience would have been expecting from their president, their reactions could have varied from sadness, anger but also inspiration as it is an uplifting speech. Bush uses alliteration throughout the speech such as “mass murder”, “biggest buildings” and “brightest beacon”, this emphasizes his statement. Bush also uses repetition in his speech, words such as “freedom”, “foundation”.
DiCaprio’s speech is during the 2016 Oscars when he won for the first time. DiCaprio’s tone of voice is confident, but not over-confident; he remains humble and grateful throughout the speech. He speaks with a calm, almost casual voice that is easy to listen to. He keeps eye contact with the audience throughout; this is to make a connection with them. After saying thank you to everyone, DiCaprio then paused for a few seconds before beginning to make a smaller speech about climate change. During this part of the speech his voice becomes slightly louder, this was to show that he is passionate about the cause of climate change and makes to persuade everyone around the world to help out and do their part.
During the first part of his speech, his purpose is gratitude; he is thankful for his win and begins to thank everyone he wishes to thank. He starts by thanking fellow actor Tom Hardy; “to my brother in this endeavour – Where DiCaprio uses personal pronouns as he calls Tom his brother, this is usage of emotive language and Pathos. DiCaprio also thanks his parents and other friends for his win; this use of emotive language is what the audience is expecting to hear at an award ceremony. The second part of his speech uses logos, in the line “the world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history” DiCaprio uses facts to inform the audience about climate change and the affects it has on the world. DiCaprio uses Ethos by appealing to the wider audience that may be watching at home, he is telling the audience that there are people who are suffering in the world; in the line “for the billions and billions of underprivileged people”. Here he also uses repetition, but it is noticed more often in his thank you speech.
DiCaprio uses a wide range of adjectives such as ‘transcendent’ and ‘urgent’ to draw importance to his sentence. DiCaprio also uses the word ‘species’ to describe the audience, this could be to remain professional and that the audience takes him seriously (Hanley, 2016). He then uses Pathos to evoke sadness into the audience by stating how humans are destroying the planet. DiCaprio’s main goal in this speech is to persuade the audience into doing something and helping out with climate change, to speak out for those who don’t have a voice; he says this because he is standing in front of an audience of celebrities who have influence over the world, DiCaprio wants them to use their voices for the greater good.
DiCaprio has a few pauses in his speech but this is mainly during applauses and when he needs to take a breath; you can see how excited he gets during his speech and he even stumbles on his words a few times, this could be down to nerves. He uses emphasis on words such as in the line “for our children’s children”, he stresses on the word ‘children’ because he cares about the future generation and how they will be affected by climate change. Here he also uses personal pronouns so relate with the audience (Hoffman, 2016).
In conclusion, both Bush and DiCaprio’s speeches were influential in different ways, Bush’s speech was expected of him, it was written in a way to help bring comfort to his audience. Whereas DiCaprio’s speech – although it was expected of him to thank everybody; it was unexpected when he began to talk about climate change. Because DiCaprio’s speech was spontaneous, it was more influential as it made people think about what they could do to change the world and help out with the issues of climate change.
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