Critique of a Political Speech - Essay Example

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[name of student] [name of professor] [subject] [date] THE THREE APPEALS, ETHOS, LOGOS, AND PATHOS: OBAMA’S INAUGURATION SPEECH The speech which I find appropriate for this paper and the application of the three appeals – logos, ethos, and pathos would be the Inaugural speech of United States President Barack Obama, delivered during his proclamation as President on January 20, 2009…
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Critique of a Political Speech
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Download file to see previous pages For the first appeal, or Ethos, it is usually utilized for the description of the speaker’s credibility or authority in the subject he is talking on. It presents the questions, what authority does the speaker to talk on the topic or “is the speaker knowledgeable enough?” Ethos also pertains to the charisma of the speaker, on whether he has captured or garnered the respect of his audience for them to listen to what he has to convey. In the speech of Obama, it is clear that the element or appeal of Ethos is present. Since it is Obama’s inaugural speech as the 44th President of the United States, he obviously has the authority, charisma, and trust of the audience. In his speech, he reminds the audience of his inauguration as the 44th President of the United States, offers his thanks and gratefulness for his victory and at the same time, and recognizes the enormous responsibility he is to undertake from his predecessors. Typical to many political speeches, ethos is established during the introduction where a speaker attempts to garner the trust and confidence of his audience. He posits in the initial paragraphs of his Inaugural speech, “Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.” What can be appreciated from Obama’s speech with regard to ethos would be that Obama presented his authority and charisma in a very humble manner. He did not appear to boast that he is now the latest President of the United States, but instead conveyed an aura of humility. He begins by saying, “My fellow citizens”, where he attempts to present himself as another ordinary American citizen, and he again mentions, “I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.” Obama even sought to praise the achievements of then-President George W. Bush, which would have to a certain extent, healed wounded political scars in the recent elections. He stated, “I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.” For the second appeal, Logos, it is the employment of reason and logic to persuade the audience. Through the use of facts, statistics, and researches as evidence, the speaker convinces the audience of the truth and validity of his claim. As expected of a prominent lawyer, a former Senator, and the new President of the United States, Obama is well-informed, well-researched, and well-versed with political developments. In his speech, Obama presents the current problems of the United States. He states in paragraph 4, “That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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