What is an example of restatement(not repetition) in Patrick Henry's Speech in the Virginia Convention?

1 Answer

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Patrick Henry's famous address to the Virginia Convention in which he displays his indomitable spirit stands as an example of superb oratory as Henry makes appeals to ethos, logos, and finally pathos

After his appeal to patriotism, Henry states that the question before the convention is one of freedom or slavery, a question that requires the freedom of debate.  In a restatement of the concept of debate, Henry contends,

It is only in this way [freedom of debate] that we can hope to arrive at truth, and full the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country.

 Henry expresses his concern that the representatives "indulge in the illusions of hope.  In a restatement of this idea, he alludes to The Odyssey and the Bible's Book of Ezekiel (12:2):

We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren...Is this the part of wise men?...who, having eyes, see not and having ears, hear not the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvations?

Henry appeals to the convention that if they wish to be free, they must fight. He states,

The battle sir is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave....There is no retreat, but in submission and slavery!

Then, Henry insists that the battle has already begun, restating that they must fight,

The war is actually begun!...Our brethren are already in the field!  Why stand we here idle!

The great statesman urges his listeners to act quickly, and not allow themselves to be subjugated to Great Britain.  Finally, Henry convinces many with his famous concluding appeal,

I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!

This final emotional appeal that demonstrates Henry's indomitable spirit is a most effective call to action.