The Pentadic Analysis Of Richard Nixon's Checkers Speech

Burke’s Pentadic Analysis of Richard Nixon’s “Checkers Speech”
In 1952, Vice Presidential candidate Richard Nixon made a speech on television to address the accusations of using campaign funds for use personal uses. Nixon addressed the issue in what has famously become known as the “Checkers Speech”. The half-hour speech was the first American political speech to be televised live for a national audience of around 60 million people (Byron). A 1999 poll of communication scholars ranked the address as the sixth most important American speech of the 20th century – close behind Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, and FDR (Huebner). Nixon’s Checkers Speech marked the beginning of the television age in American politics and had
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Dramatism studies human communication as symbolic action, in which the purpose is not only to convey information, but to persuade someone to do something using symbolic action (Griffin, 301). According to Burke, all language is inherently persuasive because symbolic acts do something as well as say something (Burke, 1966). From a dramatistic point of view, language is not only a means of communication, but a way to make sense of the surrounding world or handle a specific situation. Dramatism is a form of rhetorical analysis. Burke’s own definition of dramatism is very …show more content…
Dramatic pentadic criticism allows us to define what types of situations are effective in enabling the communicator to maintain or regain their public image (Griffin, 305). That is, as Nixon speaks, he indicates how he perceives the world. Results from this analysis reveal what he regarded as the appropriate response, and how the rhetorical choices made in his speech affected the audience’s

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