Rhetorical Analysis Of John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address

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The inaugural address has been a traditional practice to every president since George Washington first did it at his second inauguration in 1793. An inaugural address is an important aspect that marks the beginning of a public leader’s term in office. The address also serves as a way for the leader to address the public of their intentions as leader. There have been several different types of inaugural addresses, but one that has stood the test of time is John F. Kennedy’s address. Kennedy was elected president of the United States in the 1960 election after beating out Richard Nixon and the Republican Party in an election that the popular vote was won by a mere percentage point. Following the election, Kennedy delivered his inaugural address…show more content…
While he was able to incorporate the rhetoric strategies of ethos, logos, and pathos in his speech, the rhetorical strategies antithesis, lists, and parallelism also make the speech effective and straightforward in a non-pedantic…show more content…
is how Kennedy incorporates multiple rhetorical techniques to enhance his points and better connect with his listeners. One of these techniques that were able to captivate his speech was the use of multiple antithesis statements. An antithesis is the juxtaposition of contrasting ideas, often in parallel structure. The line “…ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” (Kennedy 461) is one of the most memorable lines from Kennedy’s inaugural address. Kennedy simply stated that one should not be asking what government handouts the country can hand to citizens but rather knowing your responsibilities towards society and the nation to improve the condition of the country. While the idea may not be original, the delivery of the antithesis was sought to inspire individuals to seek to be great. The simple, plain speaking sentence composed of just nine basic words continued on within the minds of listeners
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