Rhetorical devices

To make his message more convincing, Jawaharlal Nehru uses various rhetorical devices which make the speech “Tryst with Destiny” sound more appealing. In what follows, we will outline the most important on…

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Allusions

An allusion is an indirect reference to people, events, or art that the speaker finds relevant to the topic. In “Tryst with Destiny” the speaker makes several allusions to Mahatma Gandhi, his own mentor and the leader of the Indian independence movement from the British rule: “The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye.” ; “On this day our first thoughts go to the architect of this freedom, the Father of our Nation, who, embodying the old spirit of India…”. These allusion…

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Antithesis

Antithesis is defined as opposition or contrast between people, ideas, situations, etc. The rhetorical purpose of antithesis is usually to maintain the audience’s attention and to emphasise one of the two elements being contrasted.

“Tryst with Destiny” is constructed using numerous such contrasts which help the speaker highlight the fact that a historical change is taking place in India.

Using metaphorical language, the speaker opposes being asleep with being awake and free: “…when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.”. This contrast is meant to emphas…

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Imagery, metaphors, and personification

The speech is filled with imagery (mental images created by the speaker for the audience) which is created with the help of metaphorical language and personification.

For example, the phrase “tryst with destiny” means making an appointment to meet with destiny. This implies that destiny is personified, and it creates a vivid image.

Throughout the speech, you will also notice that India is constantly referred to as a person: “…when the world sleeps, India will awak…

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Repetition and tricolon

Repetition gives structure to speakers’ arguments and makes them more memorable. For example, Nehru repeatedly uses words like “freedom” (12 times), “responsibility” (3 times), “work” (4 times), and “future” (4 times), emphasising the key points of his argument: that freedom comes with responsibility, and that there is still work to do to ensure the peaceful transition to India’s independent future.

Tricolon means mentioning things in threes, making them more memorable …

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Direct address and rhetorical questions

Nehru addresses different categories of the audience directly to make them feel involved with the message he is presenting. He uses a first person-plural address to the Parliament to remind them of their responsibilities: “And so we have to labour and to work, and work hard, to give reality to our dreams.”.

He addresses the people of India to make them support the new independent government: “To the people of India, whose representatives …

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