A Rhetorical Analysis Of Their Finest Hour By Winston Churchill

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Analysis of: “Their Finest Hour” by Winston Churchill

A. 10 forms of rhetoric in the speech

i) Metonymy: “We have under arms at the present time in this Island over a million and a quarter men.” Winston Churchill substitutes the Island of Great Britain with the word Island, acting as a figure of speech that means the same thing.

ii) Connotation: “If Hitler can bring under his despotic control the industries of the countries he has conquered...” By referring to Hitler's control as being despotic it arouses the idea that Hitler is a man of tyrannical action. It connotes things in which the word ‘control’ normally would not.

iii) Enumeration: “...I have received from their Prime Ministers, Mr. Mackenzie King of Canada, Mr. Menzies of Australia,
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It acts as a better way to both connect with the audience and get his point across,

viii) Allusion “If they seriously intend it, I shall only say that we shall be delighted to offer Signor Mussolini a free and safeguarded passage through the Strait of Gibraltar in order that he may play the part to which he aspires.” Here Winston Churchill alludes both to Benito Mussolini and the Strait of Gibraltar in order to give the listeners an idea of just how easily the British Empire would be able to handle the Italian fleet. Both are mentioned in tandem in order to create an atmosphere of safety and that even if the Italians were to head up the Eastern coast, it would not matter at all.

ix) Antithesis: “If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister” Essentially Churchill is saying ‘Winning will bring on a Golden Age of freedom, but losing will bring on a Dark Age of despair’. This keeps the same structure built on the outcome of the way, but forms a contrast of winning versus losing in order to provide emphasis on why winning is
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Churchill objectively speaks of how the French were defeated, England is next to be bombed, the Nazi’s have gained a lot of territory, and the casualties of war. He does all of this in such a way what that he seems to have an attitude that things are grim and fearful. He then seems to twist his own attitude later on by giving hope to the situation and describing what can be done. He goes from a despairing attitude to one of patriotism and hope. This can be seen most prominently in the selection, “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”” Although the final line in the speech, it summarizes much of what Winston Churchill was trying to accomplish towards the end of his speech; there is still

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