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Day of Doom by Michael Wigglesworth - Book Report/Review Example

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This paper "Day of Doom by Michael Wigglesworth" discusses the rhetoric featured in the poem while comparing its description to that of the scriptures for the determination of Wigglesworth’s use of the artistic license, imagery, and his own interpretation of the Bible. …
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Download file to see previous pages The poem effectively uses language to successfully persuade its readers to understand and accept Wigglesworth’s argument. First, Michael employs rhetoric through the use of an appeal to fear, an effective means in the modification and adoption of the recommended behavior, righteousness in this context, according to Simpson (Par. 4). In the poem’s 28th stanza, for instance, the description of the sinners’ fate is a tool aimed at inspiring the fear of judgment in the reader's mind to persuade them into the adoption of righteousness. Its fifth and sixth lines “Sinners in grain, reserv’d to pain / and torments most severe:” (14), in their allusion to the fate of sinners inspire fear which encourages the readers to deviate from sin. Michael further employs the rhetoric later in the poem in his reference to their anguish and fear which he depicts as “self-tormenting” (15) and in the revelation of the scalding flames and endless pain awaiting them after their damnation (16). Finally, the description given of the fate befalling sinners after the sentencing, judgment, and condemnation is made deliberately vivid and ghastly to further inspire fear and acceptance of Wigglesworth’s arguments. The poem describes terror experienced by those condemned as they burn and gnash their teeth with their feet and arms bound in iron bands. The allusion into the despair and pain instills fear into the poem’s audience making them more receptive to the idea of living sin free lives to end up on the other side whose description paints the picture of happiness and contentment (30). The poem, therefore, successfully uses the appeal to fear to persuade its audience to conform to Michael’s ideal of a sinless existence. Additionally, the poem uses a rhetorical appeal to emotion in its efforts to pass on to its readers its author’s argument and persuade them into accepting it. First, through the appeal to fear, a powerful and fundamental emotion which heightens an individual’s cognitive processing and perception, the poem moves the reader is persuaded to conform to Wigglesworth’s call to righteousness to escape the fate awaiting sinners after judgment. Furthermore, the description of the consequences of sin, such as the repeated mention of the resulting anguish and torment evokes apprehension at the impending doom. Finally, towards the end of the poem, the Judge proclaims the judgment which condemns all sinners to burn “where fire and Brimstone flameth” (30) further adding to the readers’ fear, apprehension from not knowing whether the eternal fire is their fate, and anxiety. Together, these strong emotions serve to convince the poem’s audience of the consequences awaiting those who fail to heed to Michael’s position. They, therefore, persuade them to accept his arguments. In addition to the two appeals, the poem employs other rhetorical devices to advance its arguments and persuade its readers and audience to accept and adopt them. For instance, after the declaration of the sentence of condemnation, Wigglesworth describes the weight of the statement as sharper than a sword in the line: “Oh, Piercing words sharper than swords” (30). The use of hyperbole in the line is evident in the obvious exaggeration of the effects of the words f condemnation seen in their consideration as piercing. Hyperbole in this situation successfully plants in the reader’s mind the gravity of receiving eternal condemnation and the consequent descent to hell which serves to persuade them into the acceptance of repentance and aversion to sin to avoid such a fate. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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