Rhetorical Analysis of President Obama's Inauguration Speech

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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...

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...speech sets a hopeful yet slightly despairing tone.

In a quotation by Barack Obama on November 4, 2008, he says “That is the true genius of America-that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow”. Obama's inauguration speech mirrors the ideas expressed by that quote. Barack Obama's message in his speech is that through hope and change, we can pull the country out of recession, out of turmoil, and out of any difficult tasks we'll have ahead of us. What we have achieved shows that we can achieve it again, and the only reason these feats were achieved was because we were one nation working together. Obama successfully incorporate rhetoric into his speech to make it emotional, believable, and logical. His speech is a great representation of a well written rhetorical essay.
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