What Makes A Great Speech So Memorable?

Decent Essays

What makes a great speech so memorable? Sophie Rice explores with reference to two famous speeches from the last 200 years, The Gettysburg Address and Eulogy for Princess Diana, and the rhetorical techniques used within to portray their messages.

As stated by Nathaniel Hawthorne, ‘Words – so innocent and powerless as they are…,how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.’ To this day, perhaps one of the most famous and powerful speeches is Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Similarly, Earl Spencer’s Eulogy for Princess Diana is an oration whose message can still resonate with you and I today. These speeches are not only well recognised for their context, but noted also for the rhetorical techniques used to effectively portray the speaker’s ideas.

On November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered one of the most renowned speeches in history. It is remembered by everyone for its brevity, poetic quality and use of technique, which allowed Lincoln to cleverly portray his ideas in only 2 minutes and 272 words. He spoke this four months after the Battle of Gettysburg in the American civil war to dedicate a plot of land to fallen soldiers, to honour their sacrifices and to remind America of the need to live out the principles stated in the American Declaration of Independence.

A key technique Lincoln used throughout the Gettysburg Address was inclusive language. He addressed his crowd by ‘Fellow Countrymen,’ which immediately

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