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Rhetorical Analysis Seneca

Categories Rhetoric, Science, Time

Analysis, Pages 4 (878 words)

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Analysis, Pages 4 (878 words)

Tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift: many people lived with the allusion that if they work hard for priceless benefits they would be happy, however, one person had a different opinion. One such person was Lucius Annaeus Seneca, who believes that if people would use their lives properly and to a morally right extent, they will be long enough, yet, most people waste their time thinking of their possessions and wealth, believing that they have all the time in the world.

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Seneca specifically targets the people of high class or social statue because he wanted them to seek the pleasures of the world around them rather than yearn for untimely possessions. Seneca brought forth his opinion that people distract themselves and don’t immerse themselves in the present, living for a future that may never come. To prove his point, Seneca, applies the rhetorical devices of anaphora, personification, and rhetorical questions.

Seneca implies throughout the text that how we spend our time is how we spend our lives until they end. To set the idea in motion the author uses anaphora to initiate the differences and variations of man’s toil. For example, when Seneca states “But one man is possessed by avarice that is insatiable, another by a toilsome devotion to tasks that are useless; one man ; one man” (par.2) he illustrates the variations in existence of a person who’s wants and desires for pleasure of money and riches rather than instituting well being for himself in the present and feeling pleasure for what he already has in possession.

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By using an anaphora Seneca is able to establish his credibility towards his argument by suggesting the different ways men are suffering to gain wealthy and prosperous possessions. By offering numerous and personal examples to the audience, Seneca establishes a line of illustrative reasoning with his readers that offers him the ability to further develop his outlook in their minds.

Seneca uses personification to show us how life unravels itself to us. Seneca pushes us to see at the end of our lives we may not have used time wisely, we may have been too obsessed with other ambitions, like gathering wealth, to care. The author helps the audience to see that life will not wait for us to catch up. Everything has an end and some are better than others. As an example, Seneca writes “Life will follow the path it started upon (…)” (par.3) symbolizing the tract of life and how it is an inevitable fate. The personification used here by Seneca helps establish pathos in which the readers emotions are intertwined with the imperishable events of life that cannot be postponed by a man’s slaving exertion for desirable wealth.

Seneca describes life as generous, giving us the time we need to indulge ourselves and enjoy life, however, despite the generosity, mankind still like to waste away in misery and toil. He accuses men of being improvident when it comes to time, and disregarding the speed at which it comes and goes, wasting it on foolish things; they act as if time is endless and they are immortal. Seneca uses emotion to blame the irresponsibility of mankind so that they may understand and see some joy before the end comes near. As we all know that death is a part of life’s path.

The use of a rhetorical question in Seneca’s text helps his audience feel more connected and engaged with the writing. Using the rhetorical question pushes the audience to relate to events in their lives were they to squandered their time away. Then they would look back on the past with delight for all that he had encountered, enjoy the present, and anticipate the future and all that fortune has to bring upon them. Similarly, the use of a rhetorical question applies to Seneca’s ethos because he has proven his opinion by shedding the wisdom he gained by his personal experiences observing the world around him.

For example, he says “Why do we complain of Nature?” (par.2) to get his audience to question themselves on why and when they complained about the natural course of their life. However, this is not the only rhetorical question used by Seneca, there are many more where he asks the audience what their guarantee is on how long or happy their life is. It almost seems as if Seneca is putting pressure on his intended audience to accept his claim and give in to the aspect that they are slaving away in life. The emotion of this nonexistent force is applying, again, to Seneca’s pathos as well because it shows the strength of his opinion.

At the end of our lives, even if we have lived long, we may not have lived wisely. People are obsessed with achievement and ambition rather than living a good life. Seneca’s use of many rhetorical devices, such as anaphora, personification, and rhetorical question helps him illustrate to his audience that time is the most precious thing we have, and someday we’ll have no more of it. Seneca implies time is best used by living in the present moment without expending great effort in protecting other valuables.

Works Cited

  • Seneca, Lucius Annaeus. On the Shortness of Life. Accessed 7 Oct 2019.

Cite this essay

Rhetorical Analysis Seneca. (2019, Dec 04). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/rhetorical-analysis-seneca-example-essay

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