On the 23rd of March in 1775, Patrick Henry’s speech calling for a revolution became one of the most famous speeches in American History. Through the use of anaphora and metaphor, Henry manifests the urgency of the revolution and bolsters his reasoning for it.
Henry refers to the anaphora’s to guide into the reason why he proposes a revolution is necessary. He essentially sides with the people by repeating “we” referring to the people including himself, putting him on a more personal level with the people. The reasons he states in his speech “We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament.” are stating the efforts that the people have done but were “slighted” and “disregarded” and have “produced additional violence and insult” and were “spurned… from the foot of the throne.” Henry pointed out those reasons to stir the people’s emotions so they can recognize the urgency of the situation that is right in front of them.
Metaphors play a crucial role in Patrick Henry’s speech since it shows how dire the situation is by comparing it to something realistic, making the situation seem more serious than it actually is. The comparison causes the reader to over analyze the situation, leading to an overreaction. “Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on.” Henry tries to prevent the situation by calling for a revolution since the delegates from the colony of Virginia sets aside the attempts that the people have made to seize the wrong doings of the ministry and Parliament. This situation could cause destruction that could potentially propose a threat to the survival of our freedom.
When the use of metaphor and anaphora conjoin together, it motivates the reader to support the revolution in an act of reasoning for it. These rhetorical devices are very important for writings because not only do they add interest and effect to the writing, but it also allows the reader to go into deep thinking about the real reason and the understanding behind Patrick Henry’s war cry, “give me liberty, or give me death!”