Pathos and Ethos in ‘Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death’
Patrick Henry’s ‘Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death’ speech uses pathos and ethos to sway his audience. Pathos which is a quality that evokes pity or sadness and ethos which is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. These used together create a very compelling argument to persuade any audience. Furthermore; he uses figurative language such as metaphors and hyperbole in his writing style to make his arguments more persuasive. The writing style of Patrick Henry shows that he also uses metaphors, and allusions to affect his audience. Patrick Henry is patriotic to Britain, but he feels that the colonies should use a different method to solve the conflict rising between the Colonies and the mother country.
In the speech, he basically says, he rather be dead than not free. So from his argument, they must rebel against the tyranny of Britain, or face a fate worse than death. Pathos is another tactic Henry uses to persuade them that revolution is essential. He uses the patriotism and pride of the colonist to make them realize how the British is taking away their rights they should naturally have from being human.
Henry says, ‘listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts’. This is just a way for her to lure in men to change them into pigs. Just like the British got the colonist to believe that they got a chance and then doom them. He says that this type of behavior is common for humans. Humans have a way of faking all kinds of emotions. That is why he said that.
Use of Methaphors and Allusions
Patrick Henry used metaphors to make their speech more appealing to their audience and makes their work more persuasive compared to other works. Patrick Henry used the persuasive metaphor, ‘Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston!’ this showed his audience the hopelessness of their situation. Thus, this opening their eyes and forcing them to see how close to slavery they have become. These metaphors along with allusions create a very persuasive essay to sway an audience. He builds his ethos by expressing his religious passion. He positions himself as a Christian fighting for God which appeals to the very religious colonist religious ethics.
Furthermore, he used allusions to make his argument, this causes it to be very effective in swaying the views of the listeners. Henry used an ethnically appalling quote comparing the colonist situation to the biblical betrayal of Jesus when he said, ‘Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss’. The thought that someone could betray them as wrongly as Judas betrayed Jesus enraged the colonist and made the thought of war much more appealing. his speech also has a very strong effect on their audience this is caused by appealing to ethos and pathos.
His speech had a strong effect on the audience in very different ways by appealing to Ethos the ethical duty of the audience and Pathos the emotional response to the speech. One of the best ways to persuade a person is to use Pathos which gets in touch with a person’s emotions. Henry does this with the colonist’ by appealing to their pride and ethics he portrays Britain as hateful and a liar he also shows they are deceitful by revealing they are already preparing to enslave them all. This motivates the colonist to finally step forward and take a stand rather than cower or hide.
“But, as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” The parallel structure of Henry’s final line shows the equivalence of two subjects, liberty and death. He again states that one or the other will occur, and no compromise is possible. He finishes off his motif of slavery by connecting slavery by connecting slavery to death, which will occur if they remain under British rule. Once again, this appeals to the colonist feelings it inspires them and strikes fear into their heart to make them want to listen and fight for their freedom.
Patrick Henry as a Writer and Speaker
Patrick Henry is a popular writer who practices methods of persuasion on his audiences. He achieved this through his use of metaphors and allusions, as well as his ability to appeal to their audience’s emotions. Patrick Henry is of the most persuasive writers because of he knew how to use metaphors, allusions and appeal to his audience.
Patrick Henry gave a speech that has been remembered as the “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech. Where he addressed the House of Burgesses in Richmond, Virginia. The point behind the speech was to persuade the Virginia House members to form an army, that would fight against the British army’s control and gain independence from Britain. Henry’s way of speaking was very effective that his speech has become one of the more famous in American history.