Henry, Patrick. “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!” Speech

Decent Essays
Patrick Henry's Biblically Charged Speech

Patrick Henry utilizes advance oratory skills, and various literary devices to illustrate his "Give me Liberty or give me death!" speech to members of the Virginia legislature. Henry possesses an impressive ability to speak to the hearts of men. His fiery passion combined with biblical passages outline a common theme that implies God sanctions his cause. Henry uses metaphors to invoke prevocational images to give his words life, and foreshadowing to allude what is to come if decisive actions are not taken. Henry and many representatives in the Virginia legislative were slave owners. This encourages Henry to utilize slavery to instill fear and anger in these proud men because the mere
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Henry begins by alluring to logic by stating, "the only light by which my feet are directed is the light of experience." Implying, any further attempts at reconciliation with the British will be in vain. Because their future is predictable judging by the treatment, they received in the past ten years. Henry then infers, "...that insidious smile" that "will prove to snare your feet," metaphorically meaning, the British are exploiting them and will pacify and ultimately set a trap they cannot escape. Then Henry makes a symbolically profound declaration stating, "suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss." Alluding to Judas Iscariot and the infamous kiss before betraying Jesus Christ. In essence telling them not to be seduced by British smiles, but to be prepared for the eventual kiss of death.
Henry continues advancing his arguments presenting evidence detailing how the British are making plans and preparation for war. While the colonist are so accommodating and willing to negotiate. Henry uses vivid imagery to make his position stating, "...our petitions comports" while "...warlike preparations cover our waters and darken our land." In an emotional appeal, Henry uses an evangelical cadence and his most striking biblical references yet to garner support from his addressees. His appeal is a call to action, by reaffirmation that God is aligned with and has pledged allegiance to America's
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