Examples of speech analysis

To fully understand how to apply the methods and terms outlined in this analysis guide, it may be helpful to take a look at a couple of examples where specific speeches are analyzed using the principles we describe, including quotations and examples that point out various stylistic and rhetorical devices 'in action'. 

Our site contains numerous study guides that take you through analysis of specific speeches, and we keep adding more as we discover new speeches that receive widespread attention. The following are just a handful of examples representing a wide range of topics, speakers and nationalities. 

Freedom or Death

Emmeline Pankhurst's 1913 speech "Freedom or Death" advocates for women's right to vote, making use of a range of strong arguments and rhetorical devices to present its message. 

Quit India

Mahatma Gandhi's 1942 speech "Quit India" is a powerful expression of protest against the British Empire's continued occupation of India, but also a reminder that this protest ought to be conducted with non-violent methods.

I Have a Dream

Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 speech "I Have a Dream" is arguably one of the most famous speeches in history. The speech it notable both for its powerful depiction of the struggles of African Americans and for its rhetorical brilliance.

The Ballot or the Bullet

Malcolm X's 1964 speech "The Ballot or the Bullet" is often compared to King's iconic speech (see above), as it deals with a similar topic but is widely different in terms of both rhetoric and argumentation.

Kevin Rudd's apology speech

Kevin Rudd's 2008 apology speech was made on behalf of the Australian government, meant to deliver an official apology to Aboriginal Australians for past atrocities. It became widely famous and helped spark a worldwide debate on whether governments and political leaders in general ought to apologize for the misdeeds of the past.

Emma Watson's HeForShe Speech

Emma Watson delivered her "HeforShe" speech to the United Nations in 2014 to promote a campaign meant to encourage boys and men to actively speak out against gender discrimination. 

Note that you can also find further links to specific examples of speech analysis in the following sections where we write about various types of speeches.