In his speech to the Virginia Convention, what is Patrick Henry's opinion of the delegates who addressed the audience before him?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

When Patrick Henry begins his speech to the Virginia Convention, he first praises the men who spoke before him. He considers them patriots and calls them "worthy gentlemen."

After stating that he does not want to seem disrespectful toward those with whom he disagrees, Henry then begins to provide reasons for his disagreeing with his predecessors. He states that "we"--implying that he's talking about the other delegates--"are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth." Thus, he views the other delegates as men who are living in denial of what must be done. Later, Henry is more direct and argues that those opposed to raising a militia are naive. He asks them for proof that the British will acquiesce to their petition and then warns the delegates, "Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss." His Judas Iscariot analogy demonstrates that he trusts nothing which comes from the British, while he believes that his opponents have fallen prey to false hope.

Ultimately, even though Henry begins in an extremely polite manner, as his passion for his cause builds, his tone becomes franker and more direct because he is willing to sacrifice his life for his position and seems to doubt that the other delegates would defend their beliefs to such a point. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial