Rhetorical Analysis Of Patrick Henry 's ' The Virginia House '

785 Words Mar 17th, 2015 4 Pages
In response to smuggling and the boycotting of British goods, British Parliament placed many restrictions on civil liberties and dissolved the Virginia House of Burgess, the center of colonial government. Many colonists viewed the British as tyrannical, prompting rumors of rebellion, anarchy, and independence. In his speech to the Virginia House of Burgess, Patrick Henry presents ethos to gain his audience’s trust and asserts allusions and logical fallacies to galvanize insurgency against totalitarian Britain. Prior to Patrick Henry’s speech, the Virginia House of Burgess delivered a speech warning colonists to avoid sedition and find compromise with oppressors. Henry must persuade his audience, mostly in favor of maintaining loyalty, to rebel against Britain; however, first Patrick must gain support by appealing to ethos. Henry constructs credibility when he states, “Know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.” This quote enhances Henry’s image by suggesting that he is courageous and is willing to not only discover the truth, but also to tolerate and provide for it. Using a metaphor to imply his knowledge, Henry reinforces ethos and instills hope. By saying he is the “lamp of experience”, Henry clarifies his role as the bearer of light, knowledge, and hope for a disillusioned people. Light is a powerful symbol representing purity, goodness, truth, and hope. Henry reinforces his intelligence by asking rhetorical questions and reciprocating them with a…
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