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Funeral Oration Pericles - Rhetorical Analysis

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“Most of my predecessors in this place have commended him who made this speech part of the law, telling us that it is well that it should be delivered at the burial of those who fall in battle.” said Pericles during his speech “Funeral Oration.” “Funeral Oration,” was a speech where Pericles was comforting the families of those who died in battle and trying to keep the surviving troops motivated to fight. In this speech, Pericles used several different types of persuasion to persuade his city of Athens.

Pericles had many reasons to address this speech. The main purpose of his speech was to explain that those who died in battle, died as a hero. In the speech, Pericles says, “Numberless are the chances to which, as they know, the life of a man is subject; but fortunate indeed are they who draw for their lot a death so glorious as that which has caused your mourning,..” Another reason Pericles addressed this speech, is that he was trying to tell the people that there is still more fighting to be done and that the remaining troops must continue to fight.

During the speech, Pericles used a very serious tone. He also used very formal diction. He used these to communicate to his audience that he was very serious on the subject he was explaining. The audience Pericles was speaking to were the Athenians. These citizens included those who had family members who died in battle and his remaining soldiers. The reader can know who the audience is by reading this speech. One example of this is when Pericles said, “ Athens, we live exactly as we please.” Another example is when he said, “...died these men became Athenians. You, their survivors…” Pericles chose this audience because he was trying to comfort his city while saying there was still more fighting to be done.

During his speech, Pericles used three types of persuasion, logos, ethos, and pathos. Logos is when the speaker tries to persuade the audience with facts and logic. Pericles uses this when he says, “We celebrate games and sacrifices all the year round, and the elegance of our private establishments forms a daily source of pleasure and helps to banish the spleen; while the magnitude of our city draws the produce of the world into our harbor, so that to the Athenian the fruits of other countries are as familiar a luxury as to those of his own.” By saying this, Pericles intended to use facts about Athens to make the audience remember the luxury and greatness of the Athenian life. Pericles was successful by using this persuasion. He reminded the Athenians that those who died, died protecting a wonderful city.

Pericles also used ethos to persuade in his speech. Ethos is when the speaker tries to persuade the audience using moral beliefs or by allowing the audience to trust him as an authority figure. Pericles used this when he says, “However since our



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