Rhetorical devices

Rhetorical devices are language strategies used to capture and keep readers’ attention, as well as to make arguments sound more convincing. In what follows, we will look at some of the most important rhetorical devices that you can identify in “The Declaration of Independenc…

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Imagery and metaphors

As the text represents a legal document, there are only a few instances of imagery or metaphorical language. An example of the writers trying to create vivid imagery for the readers is: “He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.” This helps to justify declaring independence.

An example of metaphorical language is “They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.”  where justice and consanguinity (kinship or being related) are personified. The metaphor refers to the attitude of the British people, particularly members of Parliament, who had ignored the pleas of the colonies to g…

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Parallelism, repetition, and enumeration

The text is filled with numerous instances of parallelism and repetition, which are often combined.

Parallelism means using similar sentence structures to make an argument or message more engaging. One example is “Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.” Here, the repetition of the word “repeated” makes the two images mirror each other. The writers’ intention is to show that they have tried to solve their grievances through peaceful, legal means, but the political reply of the British has been aggressive.

In many cases, parallelism is constructed by the repetition of the word ‘that’ or ‘such’ which becomes an anaphora (repeating the same word in the beginning of consecutive…

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