Rhetorical Devices In The Gettysburg Address

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A good speech can leave a positive impact on the listener. This is true for many great speeches such as the Gettysburg Address, President Reagan's Challenger Speech, and John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address. All three of these speeches come at a time of despair in America. Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address during the Civil War. Reagan gave his State of the Union Address the same day the U.S. Space Shuttle, the Challenger, exploded. President Kennedy’s inauguration speech came at a time when the future of America was unclear. All three speeches showed Americans how to be strong and gave people hope. The avid use of rhetorical devices is why these speeches are so impactful.
Rhetorical devices are techniques that an author uses to have
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Irony as the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning. An example of irony is like firefighter’s house catching on fire. There is only one example of irony in the Gettysburg address and is found in this passage:
The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
The irony in the passage s not blatantly obvious, as irony usually is, but that is due to the fact that at the time it was written, it wasn’t meant to be ironic. Lincoln says that no one will remember the speech, that it will be forgotten and that the Battle of Gettysburg will be remembered more than the address Lincoln gave commemorating the battle. It is ironic because the Gettysburg address is one of the most memorable, recited, and referenced speeches of all time and Lincoln states that no one will remember it even though more people currently remember the address rather than the battle. Imagery can change the way an audience perceives a concept or idea and JFK expresses it thoroughly in his Inauguration
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An allusion is when the writer directly references a specific event. The Gettysburg Address is given at a dedication of the Soldier's National Cemetery, a cemetery for soldiers killed at the Battle Of Gettysburg. While there are a numerous examples of allusions in Lincoln's speech, one of the best instances of an allusion is here:
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.
In this passage, Lincoln doesn’t only reference the Battle of Gettysburg but he also references the Civil War, which America is fighting with itself at the time. Lincoln describes how unsure of America’s fate he is and how the soldiers who died at Gettysburg, died so that America could live on. Lincolns Address inspired many Americans who were in need of guidance, as did Reagan’s Challenger

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