Rhetorical devices

Rhetorical devices are used to make the speech sound more appealing and the speaker’s arguments more memorable. In what follows, we will look at the most important devices used by Emmeline Pankhurst in her speech and give you some examples you can include in your analys…

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Allusions and direct references

Allusions are indirect references to people, events, art, or literature that the speaker considers important for the speech.

For example, Pankhurst alludes to the American Revolution on several occasions: “We know what happened when your forefathers decided that they must have representation for taxation, many, many years ago. When they felt they couldn't wait any longer, when they laid all the arguments…

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Analogy

An analogy is a type of comparison, in which one event is used to describe or to contrast with another.

A hypothetical analogy is when the speaker asks Hartford men to imagine what they would do if they did not have voting rights. This analogy is meant to make men understand the diffic…

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Antithesis

Antithesis is a contrast between things, people, or situations. For example, Pankhurst describes two opposing options when one’s rights are not respected, to argue that fighting for one’s rights is the only possible choice: “…they would either have to submit indefinitely to an unjust state of affairs, or they would have to rise up and adopt some of the antiquated means by which men in the past got their grievances remedied.”

Later, she opposes those in power with t…

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Direct address

The speaker addresses the audience directly several times in the speech. In general, direct address has the purpose of making the audience feel involved and encouraging them to reflect on the speaker’s arguments.

One example of direct address that inspires reflection is: “Now, I ask …

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Imagery, metaphors, and hyperbole

The speaker does not use a lot of metaphorical language in the speech, but there are still a couple of instances worth mentioning. First, the speaker uses a metaphor to present herself as a soldier which is meant to give …

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Irony and sarcasm

On several occasions, Pankhurst relies on irony and sarcasm to convey criticism towards men and male authorities. For example, she mocks the fact that British authorities deem her dangerous and valueless: “…I am here as a person who, according to the law courts of my country, it has been decided, is of no value to the community…

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Repetition and tricolon

Repetition typically helps speakers structure their arguments and highlight certain points. For example, the speaker uses repetition in the beginning of the speech to draw the audience’s attention to her intentions: 

I am here as a soldier (...) I am not only here as a soldier temporarily absent from the field at battle; I am here - and that, I think, is the strangest part of my coming - I am here as a person…

The speaker also repeats certain words when she discusses a specific idea. For example, the repetition …

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Rhetorical questions

Throughout the speech, Pankhurst uses several rhetorical questions designed to help her audience accept her views or reflect on them: “…what would be the proper and the constitutional and the practical way of getting their grievance removed? Well, it is perfectly obvious…” , “Now, I ask you, if women …

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