Rhetorical Analysis Of Henry David Thoreau 's ' Civil Disobedience '

1037 Words Sep 20th, 2016 5 Pages
Henry David Thoreau, in his essay “Civil Disobedience” argues that American citizens should not be loath to disobey their corrupt and useless government, using metaphor as a rhetorical device to prove his point and provide a call to action for readers. In the essay, Thoreau describes the government as a corrupt, immoral, and often useless agent, and strongly criticizes the American population for following it so blindly. He encourages readers to act in protest of their unjust government, urging them to act with their consciences and not based on what the law dictates; he also insists that they engage in civil disobedience, and refuse to pay certain taxes. By using metaphor in the essay, Thoreau makes the piece more readable and relatable, providing comparisons that engage the reader. Through utilization of this rhetorical device, he subtly encourages readers to take action against the government. Thoreau begins his essay by assuming the position that government should have little to no power, because it is essentially useless; in it, power is often abused and therefore many of its laws and actions are corrupt. Any individual man contains just as much power as the government; while the government is credited with doing things like educating, providing freedom, and settling the West, it is in fact man who has accomplished these things. Therefore, citizens all have the strength and ability to protest their government. Thoreau then asserts that he is not an anarchist: he is…

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