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Discuss the rhetorical devices Lincoln used in his "Gettysburg Address."Include at...

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charbaby4ever | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 10, 2010 at 12:03 PM via web

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Discuss the rhetorical devices Lincoln used in his "Gettysburg Address."

Include at least two examples from the speech and explain why he used them.  Im doing an online class and i cant seem to find the answer to the qusetion.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 10, 2010 at 12:09 PM (Answer #1)

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The most obvious rhetorical device in this short speech is the anaphora that Lincoln uses at the start of the last paragraph.  He says "we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow."  When you use the same word or words at the start of a bunch of consecutive clauses, that's anaphora.

In this case, Lincoln is using this device to emphasize that the people gathered there were not the important ones.  He was drawing attention to the sacrifices made by the soldiers.

Later on in that paragraph, Lincoln tries to make the same poin when he uses antithesis.  This is where a speaker contrasts ideas by putting them close together.  He says, for example,

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 11, 2010 at 7:28 AM (Answer #2)

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Of the many devices used by Lincoln in his address, there are some strong examples that stick out in my mind.  I would say that his use of repetition in "of the people, by the people, and for the people" is quite a deliberate use of repeating the term of "the people."  It helps to create the reminder in the listener that Lincoln's honoring of those who gave "the ultimate sacrifice" did so for us, "the people" of whom our government derives.  It was very clever of him to conclude his speech on this note of repetition.  Additionally, I think another powerful rhetorical device was employing the use of opposites.  Lincoln helps contrast the dead soldiers, ones who gave their lives, to the listener who is amongst the living.  In the process, Lincoln helps to create a sense of scope within the listener who follows his lead by contrasting the reality of the dead with that of the living.  This compels the listener/ reader to be galvanized into action, accepting the premises Lincoln has offered.  The use of contrast and opposing visions helps to allow the reader to better understand Lincoln's scope and goals.

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kellove | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 21, 2011 at 11:54 AM (Answer #3)

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i think that pathos is a great one because lincoln establishes a bond with the crowd by using pathos

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