6 October 2014
Obama on Syria Rhetorical Analysis
The night before the anniversary of 9/11 in 2013, Barack Obama delivered a speech to the United States of America on the subject of Syria’s inhumane use of chemical weapons on its own citizens. The United States’ intelligence analysts estimated that more than 1,400 civilians were killed due to the chemical warheads that were launched on the area right outside of Damascus. In President Barack Obama’s address to the nation on Syria, he attempts to persuade the American people to support his plan of a targeted air strike on Syria. By describing the victims of Syria, giving reasons for the inhumanity of the Syrian government, and reinforcing his credibility, Barack Obama successfully appeals to pathos, logos, and ethos throughout his speech.
From the beginning of the speech, President Barack Obama begins to appeal to the audience’s emotions by using very strong and powerful words that paint detailed pictures in the minds of the audience. His dramatic diction when referring to the Bashar al-Assad regime depicts the Syrian government as a wicked monster, which is exactly what the President wishes to do in order to more easily convince his citizens. Words such as “oppressive” and “gruesome” are only some of the many emotionally appealing words that President Barack Obama incorporates in his argumentative speech (Obama par 2 and 4). Also, only a couple of minutes into the speech, President Barack Obama uses vivid imagery to depict the innocent people of Syria who were unfortunately killed by poisonous gases that the Syrian government deployed themselves. President Obama ensures that his audience feels sickened and hatred towards the Bashar al-Assad r...
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...e as well as it did the American people.
By choosing to deliver it on the day before the 9/11 anniversary, the President of the United States’ audience is more easily persuaded. They undeniably have the atrocity of 9/11 instilled in their minds which helps make it easier for them to take a position against the Bashar al-Assad regime, thus supporting an airstrike on the Syrian government. His emphasis on the innocent victims touches the hearts of the audience, the logical reasoning makes the plan of action sensible, and the President’s credentials make the speech credible. Through pathos, logos, and ethos, President Barack Obama was able to structure and deliver an effective argument to the people of the United States of America and the world.
Obama, Barack. “Address to the Nation on Syria.” White House, Washington, D.C. 10 September 2013. n.p. Address.
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