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Analyzing Rhetoric: Bill Clinton - Accurate Essays

Analyzing Rhetoric: Bill Clinton





Analyzing Rhetoric: Bill Clinton

            Rhetorical Strategies would include emotional appeal, logical appeal and ethical appeals. Rhetorical devices would include rhetoric questions, contrast, describing and imagery, and metaphors. Bill Clinton, in his first inaugural speech, used some of these strategies to drive home his argument of how change is important for Americans drawing from the history of the nation and the current situation.

Rhetorical Appeals

Logos is a rhetoric strategy that uses logic to reason on a particular argument, and then making a conclusion from the logic. Anaphora is another rhetoric device that uses repetition of a word or phrase in the start of a sentence and to other progressive statements. It is used to bring emotional effect. In the speech, from the second paragraph of the passage, the word “when “has been repeated several times in the beginning of phrases in the statement. This is anaphora, and it helps in enhancing a powerful point to the audience. In this speech, it aimed at reminding people of the prevailing situation and its importance. From this statement, logic reasoning is affected when he makes a conclusion that they have not achieved the change. This is use of appeal to logic together with repetition to lay emphasis and make a logic conclusion.

There is an emotional appeal in the speech. Emotional appeal can be shown using real examples that are prevailing and known to the people. The speech has achieved this through describing the real situations facing those who live in poverty. It also emphasizes on the reason, which is attributed to the changes in the world. The use of this example created a picture in the audience’s mind of the current situation. This rhetoric strategy seeks to be persuasive through use of emotions.

Rhetorical Devices    

Bill Clinton, from the first paragraph in the passage, uses metaphor to convey a new meaning using a familiar idea. The words “horseback” and “boats” in his statement, describe the slow nature of spreading information in the past while “Broadcasting” describes the present fast means. These words through contrast in the statement emphasize on how the world has changed. Referring to the past to make a clear picture of the changes made is achieved through a brief description and comparison of the two eras. Bill Clinton uses rhetoric questions to emphasize on his argument of whether they can change. Rhetoric questions are meant to put across imagery to the audience by asking questions that are facts, without requiring a reply. This persuades the audience to think in the line of the question.

Tones Used

A tone in a speech is very important especially when addressing a diversified audience like the one Bill Clinton addressed. Variation of tone is important in driving home important points. In his speech, Bill Clinton used different tones for different points. There was a hopeful tone in his speech. He focused on change by saying that, despite there being changes that encourage global competition, Americans can win. He describes the challenges as fearsome, and yet says that American’s strengths are also fearsome, which gives hope that they will overcome them. He uses an emotional tone when he describes the conditions of those living in poverty. He uses repetition to emphasize on the harsh situations that bring out emotions. There is a persuasive tone in his speech, when he asks the audience to embrace this time. In general, the speech has an official and composed tone since there are no words strongly describing one specific tone. The tone changes in some statements, but remains composed.


The speech has been organized in a reason and justification way. In all the paragraphs from the passage, he states points and justifies them through facts either from the past or from the present. In the first paragraph, he compares the past and present. In the second paragraph, he puts across the point of how changes have affected the nation. This is followed by a justification from a current prevailing situation. In the last paragraph, he uses past examples of civil war to justify the point that Americans are industrious and that they make history.

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