Patrick Henry's Speech Essay

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Patrick Henry's Speech

Slavery had existed for a very long time. It is still existent; however, the form may have changed. Anti-slave laws and abolitionist movement had been there in the past to stop slave trade in Africa. Provisions had been there but there has been no significant impact. This report focuses on Henry's speech in which he has argued how the masters (British) used to control their slaves (American colony). Henry holds the view that British should be thrown away from their executive power and Americans should fight for their freedom. Hence, the Thesis Statement is:

Patrick Henry was imageries, metaphors and analogies to persuade his audience to join the freedom struggle against the British.

Analysis of Henry's speech

Henry stresses in the first paragraph on the need to fight for freedom by saying, "I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery." In Henry's view the colonists had just two options; one was to fight for freedom and the other to accept slavery of Britain.

In the second paragraph Henry directly confronts the president and says, "Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope." This shows that according to Henry every man hopes to obtain freedom without fighting. But this seems just like an imagination only because attaining freedom without fighting is not something that happens in reality.

While making use of legendary evidence he says, "Listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts." Henry's statement explains that just as Circe in Homer's Odyssey malformed men into beasts after entertaining them with her singing, similarly British are making false promises to the colonists which would soon turn them into beasts.

In the second paragraph Henry says, "Are we disposed to be of the number of those who having eyes see not, and having ears hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation." These vs. are from Ezekiel 12.2 which says that one who does not have a firm believe on God, will for sure lose his spiritual salvation. Here Henry is comparing the people mentioned in Bible with those who are under the British tyranny. The people of the book lost their spiritual salvation because they could not see or hear, and here the colonists are also unaware of the truth of the British.

"I have but one lamp by which by feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience," these are the words said by Henry in paragraph 3. In this phrase lamp is used for experience, which guides men to the right path. "Lamp unto thy feet and a light unto thy path," this is also a Biblical reference which is a straight appeal to the God and to the nation, for seeking guidance to lead a right path.

In this paragraph Henry makes use of a term "insidious smile." Insidious smile is a clear indication that the British are fooling the colonists and they would never end up coming up to their expectations. The response of the British can be explained by the phrase "a snare to your feet," which indicates that British want to keep these colonists trapped. Henry compared Judas betrayal kiss that he gave to Jesus with the positive reception that the British gave to the colonists' appeal, by using the following words: "Suffer yourselves not to be betrayed with a kiss."

The evidence of British rule was given by the armies which were sent by them. Henry called these preparations of British as "warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land." 'Darken' and 'cover' are the two words here which stand for total imprisonment or rather death.

Henry puts forward a negative response to the opposing arguments in the fifth paragraph. Opposing arguments were asking the colonists to make their demand in a humble manner. But according to Henry humble requests have been made several times in the past therefore, now declarative sentences are required. In his view the time for humble requests has ended.

5th paragraph starts with Henry's evidences in which Colonists have demanded from British. The evidence is presented in a long compound sentence having parallel independent clauses. It starts with the anaphora of "we have" and concludes on…[continue]

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