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Rhetorical Analysis Of Elie Wiesel's Speech

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On the 12th of April, in the year 1999, Elie Wiesel gave a speech at the White House. Several members of congress, President Clinton, and the First Lady, Hillary Clinton, were present to listen to him. His speech became a powerful testament to the pitfalls and dangers of being indifferent to the sufferings of others. However, Wiesel’s speech was also a very skillful exercise in using rhetoric for persuasion. By using certain wording and striking the right balance of facts and emotions, he was moving the audience in the direction of understanding his point of view. He was moving the audience to not feel sympathy, but actual empathy to the events he was speaking about. To feel the as closely as he felt for these events in history. He acted as judge, jury, disappointed parent and as vengeful deity. In this paper, I will examine key elements of his speech to show that by instilling deep feelings of shame, fear, and even pride at the right moments can inspire people to open their minds to the dangers of ignoring the pleads of help from their fellow man. Wiesel opens his speech by telling a story of a little boy that should be happy but he isn’t; “Fifty-four years ago to the day, a young Jewish boy from a small town in the Carpathian Mountains woke up, not far from Goethe's beloved Weimar, in a place of eternal infamy called Buchenwald. He was finally free, but there was no joy in his heart. He thought there never would be again.” Look closely at his wording when he describes
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