Rhetorical devices

Antithesis

One of the rhetorical devices that John F. Kennedy uses in his Moon Speech is antithesis. The rhetorical device is used at the beginning of the speech, when Kennedy presents the 1960s in light of the conflict between the US and the Soviet Union:

We meet at a college noted for knowledge, in a city noted for progress, in a State noted for strength, and we stand in need of all three, for we meet in an hour of change and challenge, in a decade of hope and fear, in an age of both knowledge and ignorance. 

In this example, Kennedy contrasts “change”  with “challenge”, “hope”  with “fear”, and “knowledge” with “ignorance”. With the help of antithesis, Kennedy’s purpose is to make the audience focus on the positive aspects, while also acknowledging their fears. 

Moreover, antithesis is used when Kennedy contrasts the two possible outcomes of space exploration, which depend on which superpower will become a leader in space exploration:

Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre...

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