Rfk Speech Rhetorical Analysis Essay
Essay Topic: Rhetoric
Paper type: Analysis
Words: 584, Paragraphs: 5, Pages: 3
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Robert Kennedy’s speech on the Vietnam War on March 18, 1968 addresses the dire consequences of the war. His speech criticized the actions taken by Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson. RFK’s speech uses parallel structure and other rhetorical devices to appeal to the audience’s emotion, logic, and ethics. The use of parallel structure throughout the speech contributes to RFK’s views of the Vietnam War.
“.. a year when we choose not simply who will lead us, but where we wish to be led; the country we want for ourselves- and the kind we want for our children.
” This quote is a call to the American people to step up and not only be heard on their views on a president by voting, but to speak up on their views of the morality and direction of our country to keep this country good for not only them, but for generations to come. He uses parallel structure to persuade his audience to take his side in ending the Vietnam War. Another quote RFK uses to persuade his audience to end the Vietnam War is,” I am concerned- as I believe most Americans are concerned- that we are acting as if no other nations existed, against the judgement… I am concerned- as I believe most
Americans are concerned- that our present course will not bring victory; will not bring peace; will not stop the bloodshed…” The use of repetition and anaphora in this quote is used to stress the importance of the fact that RFK is concerned, just like America is concerned, about the Vietnam War. It is also used so that the audience will sympathize with RFK and, either, be concerned as he is or take a course of action to help. The repetition and anaphora are used to create Pathos, which allows the audience to be concerned just as the speaker is.
Another rhetorical device in the previous quote that creates Pathos is asyndeton,”… will not bring victory; will not bring peace; will not stop the bloodshed; and will not advance the interests of the U.S….” The use of asyndeton here is used to show that these things are in direct conjunction with each other and to stress the importance of each. The quote from Tacitus of Rome,”They made a desert, and called it peace.”, is an appeal to the reader’s logic and emotion. The use of this quote allows the speaker to show disgust and upset about the Vietnam War. Taking the quote from a famous Roman appeals to the audience’s logic. Another quote that appeals to the audience’s logic, and also ethics, is,”Now as ever, we do ourselves best justice when we measure ourselves against ancient tests, as in the Antigone of Sophocles:‘All men
make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong. and repairs the evil. The only sin is pride.’” The reference to the Antigone of Sophocles is, in itself, an appeal to the audience’s logic. But the quote itself is an appeal to the audience’s ethics due to the fact that it talks about the actions of a good man and, in contrast, a sin that can come out of making a mistake and not “repair[ing] the evil”. In conclusion, the use of parallel structure and repetition and anaphora and asyndeton appeal to, mostly, the audience’s emotions. While the references to Sophocles and Tacitus appeal to, mostly, to the audience’s logic and ethics. RFK utilizes these and bases his speech on a platform of these things.