Rhetorical Analysis Of President Obama's Inauguration Speech

1398 words - 6 pages

On January 20, 2009, President Obama was officially inaugurated and sworn in as the forty-fourth president of the United States of America. The tradition of being inaugurated requires the president to give a speech about the goals they want to reach during their presidency. The president must make a speech that appeals to the audience while being professional. Rhetoric is a useful strategy to utilize in speech making. Obama uses rhetoric to achieve presenting his message of creating hope and change together in America while fixing the economic and social challenges and issues left behind from the previous president. Barack Obama uses syntax, the rhetorical triangle, and diction to portray his message.
One prominent rhetorical syntax device that Obama uses is parallelism. Obama uses a repetition of words to introduce sentences, or uses them to begin clauses of sentences. Repeating a phrase before each clause is called anaphora. In one of his paragraphs, Obama repeats the word “to” to bring parallel structure. When he says “The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift” he is making himself seem powerful and influential (Barack Obama's Inaugural Address 1). He is explaining his desires for the country in a list that is easy to understand and is influential. Another area where he repeats his words is towards the end of the speech when he proclaims “This is the price and the promise of citizenship… This is the source of our confidence… This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed…” (Barack Obama's Inaugural Address 4). By repeating the phrase “this is the”, Obama is making the statements that follow important. Earlier Obama talks about how we have a price of responsibility. Saying that these things are the meanings of our citizenship, liberty, and confidence gives the feeling that we must maintain our responsibility to preserve the nation. Obama’s use of parallelism brings the speech together and implies a sense of power and instruction.
A second rhetorical syntax strategy used by Obama is his use of phrases similar to “not only, but also”. Obama uses this strategy to show that there is more than one outcome to each of his propositions. One example is when he says “...not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth” (Barack Obama's Inaugural Address 2). Barack Obama is telling the audience that we need to take multiple steps in order to grow as a nation. When Obama says “The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity”, he is again showing how more than one cause is and will be responsible for an outcome (Barack Obama's Inaugural Address 2). When Obama tells the nation about these causes and effects, the audience is given direct orders to try and make the causes possible.
Obama also uses the strategy of allusions. At the very end of Obama's speech, he alludes to a...

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