Patrick Henry Speech Analysis

Hayley Bell
December 12, 2014
1st Period
Patrick Henry Speech

In the speech, Patrick Henry set out to convince the Virginia delegates that war with England would be inevitable and the longer they waited the harder it would be for them to win. Patrick Henry displayed impeccable persuasion skills that disarmed his audience from favoring reconciliation with Britain. Henry used rhetorical strategies such as allusions, parallelism, and repetition to captivate his audience and appeal to their emotions. He also used a range of appeals (ethos, logos, and pathos), cementing the speech in physical and mental wholeness. The devices and strategies being used resulted in highly persuasive, motivational, and emotional words and ideas which produced an influential speech.
The contribution of ethos that Henry addressed expresses how passionate he was when speaking of his country. Patrick Henry stated, “No man thinks more highly than I do of patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed this house,” exhibiting to the house as well as others, his moral beliefs that established his knowledge of the situation while also gaining the trust of the people. Another example of ethos would be when Patrick Henry said, “...but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.” This quote is the most significant in the entire speech because so much allegiance is being proliferated by just these few words through Henry’s use of parallelism to declare his belief of supporting his country and fighting for its people. He establishes his place amongst the people of the country and gains the trust and respect of many by simply being a patriot.
As a patriot, Patrick Henry was faced with clarifying to the citizens that no matter what precautions were taken, war would come. “The war is inevitable and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come,” this is the climax and the essential purpose of the speech. Appealing to pathos, Henry showed that colonies must...