With reference to the two speakers Margaret

With mention to the two talkers Margaret Thatcher

and Martin Luther King, compare the manner in which English may

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be used for rhetorical intents in political and spiritual addresss.

[ Rhetoric ] is that art or endowment by which

discourse is adapted to its terminal.The four terminals of discourse

are to edify the apprehension, delight the imaginativeness,

travel the passion, and influence the will[ 1 ].

Collins Dictionary defines ‘rhetoric’ as ‘the art or survey of utilizing linguistic communication efficaciously and persuasively’and it is no surprise that such a accomplishment is frequently in grounds with great politicians or spiritual leaders [ 2 ] . The demand to actively advance 1s message in a good visible radiation, particularly if it is a controversial determination that will be unfastened to debate, is critical and can intend the difference between success and failure. Indoctrination or persuasion of the multitudes has, since the really morning of crude communicating, set opinionative existences against each other and propelled those who are able to work efficaciously within the recognized techniques of rhetoric into the spotlight of society. Indeed, historical figures from Gandhi to Hitler have used vocal stimulation to distribute their message and act upon the multitudes, and through assorted techniques, good constructed rhetorical addresss are efficaciously ‘audience direction devices’ giving their hearers cues, mention points and the suggested places of hand clapping [ 3 ] .

Within this essay, I will be probe Thatcher’s and King’s use of such techniques. Get downing with Margaret Thatcher’s address to the Conservative Party Bournemouth conference in 1990, it is interesting to observe how she begins her address with an ardent reference of a former co-worker killed in Ireland. Constructing up to what will subsequently go a cardinal issue in her address, she utilizes affectional linguistic communication ‘Before he wasmurderedby the IRA, Ian taught us how acivilised communityshould react to such anindignation[ 4 ]insinuating the absolute guilt of the IRA and to put a tone of compassion within her rhetoric that must hold softened the Black Marias of her audience and helped derive ‘their blessing and support for her and their messages and sentiments. [ 5 ] ’

However, in Martin Luther Kings 1963 ‘I have a dream’ reference to a great moving ridge of protesting civil rights candidates, the tone is slightly different. Rather than talking to a more contained group of political figures, he is responsible for enflaming the Black Marias of 1000s of concerned persons who may good nevertheless have come from all walks of life, and his gap rhetoric seems to reflect this. Rather than Thatcher’s heartfelt ballot of understanding for a co-worker presumptively known by most within the conference, Luther Kings audiences merely common land is their battle and desire to take action, and he attempts to collar the feeling of this demand.‘I am happy to fall in with you today in what will travel down in history asthe greatestpresentation forfreedomin the history of our state.[ 6 ]Here, King is covering in affectional absolutes, constructing up the importance of the event, and stirring he crowd into exhilaration and heed, ready to take in the remainder of his great address.

Indeed, spiritual and civil rights talkers, like Luther King, frequently depend instead more on verbal fluency and self-generated creativeness than their political opposite numbers [ 7 ] . In a scene that is less formal and capable to passions instead than smartly crafted spin, small of these addresss may be scribed in progress and an old African tradition of ‘call and response’ has been noted by the lingual research workers ‘Keith and Whittenberger Keith ( 1986. [ 8 ] ) Indeed, this is apparent several times over in Kings address, foremost as a call to all in the first line, and so once more with unfastened remarks ‘Let us non wallow in the vale of despair’and of class, the celebrated ‘I have a dream[ 9 ]statement. Both of these lines, and more in the address besides, showcase this ‘call and response’ , while one notes that in Margaret Thatcher’s address she appears to turn to and call cheque ‘Mr President’ when she addresses her audience, offering a more official line of enunciation.

It is besides apparent that King, in the manner of such old African or Pentecostal sermonizers, uses blunt Proverbss and a great trade of imagination within his words to guarantee that his point is shown starkly to the many different subdivisions of the community, both educated and non, that may be watching him perform. Using metaphor in depicting his peoples struggle to being cover an unjust trade in society, ‘In a sense we ‘ve come to our state ‘s capital to hard currency a cheque, ’he constructs an full paragraph around the paradigm of the demand for money, a common job everyone can associate excessively, and therefore brightly engages his audience. Thatcher of class has the luxury of a to the full engaged audience and prefers to touch to really existent policy treatment, and witty asides that a to the full educated audience of Conservative members can appreciate, one time once more turn outing that aiming 1s audience is highly of import in the procedure of working rhetoric.

However, despite these elusive differences, it is noticeable that the humanistic disciplines and techniques of rhetoric, as studied and scribed by the research worker Atkinson, are normally used in both King’s and Thatcher’s addresss. Obviously, despite being different types of rhetoric, quasi-religious/political and consecutive political, an underlying demand to keep attending and elicit response is needed and so it is unsurprising that the ‘three portion list’ is noticeable in both of these addresss. In Thatcher one such illustration is ‘They ‘re rather short addresss. [ laughter ][ field-grade officer 9 ]Monosyllables even. [ laughter ] Short monosyllabic words[ 10 ]and within Kings reference ‘We can non walk entirely ; and as we walk, we must do the pledge that we shall ever process in front. We can non turn back. [ 11 ] ’ Both evidently of import minutes in the addresss, Thatcher’s to insinuate a sense of party integrity and witty aside, while Kings insists impenitent solidarity and advancement, the usage of this ‘three point list’ , merely a point made via the usage of three specific constituents, is critical in magnifying general thoughts and exciting audience response.

Coupled with this, and frequently obvious within such threes, is the usage of repeat, and to some extent rime, that is produced in these addresss. King repetitions ‘I have a dream’ at the beginning of eight sentences lifting to a hectic crescendo of spoken word political relations to magnify and continuously reenforce his message ( see terminal of his address ) and Thatcher uses the device more sparsely to accomplish similar consequences. ‘new occupations. Better occupations. Cleaner jobs.’Such ‘rhyming’ words coupled with exciting imagination within them ( King utilizations ‘sweltering’ and ‘Oasis’ to compare the modern-day state of affairs and his future vision of the province of Mississippi ) can excite an audience and besides give them a cue to react in hand clapping or a ‘holler back’ state of affairs, depending on the nature of the reference itself. Of class, we must besides retrieve that these talkers will hold used modulation and gesticulation non available in the transcripts of these addresss, but these are besides really of import in the art of successful rhetoric.

The usage of contrasts, and occasional symmetrical contrasts are besides apparent in both of these addresss ; both Thatcher and King pulling on failures of others to foreground the high quality of the speaker’s favoured place [ 12 ] . ‘I seemed to hear a unusual sound emanating from Blackpool. And I thought at first it was sea gulls. [ laughter ] Then I remembered that Labour was keeping its one-year Conference there[ 13 ]and ‘And so we ‘ve come here today to dramatise a black status.[ 14 ]Although, of class, the tones of these voices are really different, Thatcher taking a ‘cheap shot’ at the Labour party while King is endeavoring to maintain his protest on the ‘high plane of self-respect and subject, ’ they both contrast their message with failures of a rival establishment or the system as a whole. Cynics could of class dismiss this component of rhetoric as simply a despairing effort to cover up 1s own skulking bad points with those of others, although if skillfully done, it can assist vastly to foreground these jobs and convey down the audience perceptual experience of what could be seen as a rival job.

So, in decision and despite the differing societal and political contexts of the state of affairss, Thatcher’s and Kings addresss, although unsurprisingly otherwise constructed and clearly intended for different audiences, contain many similarities in the type of rhetorical devices they use to acquire their messages across. Thatcher’s arguably more familiar and amusive address is surely more frivolous and snide at times, while Kings ‘I have a dream’ seems more self-generated and ardent, but in footings of historical importance, this seems unsurprising. Indeed, even looking at a more modern address, that of Tony Blair’s 2003 declaration of British war on Iraq, similar techniques can be witnessed [ 15 ] . Repeat and rime, ‘non why does it count? But why does it count so much? ’within a rhetorical inquiry in this instance ; the usage of a three portion list ‘What changed his head? The menace of force. From December …What changed his head? The menace of force. And what makes him… ? The imminency of force’ ; and even an component of media call and response is in grounds ‘And now the universe has to larn the lesson all over again.’Of class, unlike Thatcher, there is no political backstabbing at a rival party, the state of affairs would be deemed to of import to travel along that path, but he does however compare the manner Saddam Hussain ran Iraq to the manner the universe should, in his position, advancement. Indeed, it seems the art of rhetoric is mostly formalized in footings of techniques, but can be used skillfully to force any philosophy in a originative and personal mode by an person.


  • hypertext transfer protocol: //www.stanford.edu/dept/english/courses/sites/lunsford/pages/defs.htm
  • hypertext transfer protocol: //www.margaretthatcher.com/Speeches/displaydocument.asp? docid=108217 & A ; doctype=1
  • hypertext transfer protocol: //www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/Ihaveadream.htm
  • hypertext transfer protocol: //politics.guardian.co.uk/foreignaffairs/story/0,11538,916789,00.html
  • Collins English Dictionary ( Collins: 2005 )
  • Janet Maybin ( Editor ) , Neil Mercer ( Editor ) – From Conversation to Canon ( English Language: Past,Present & A ; Future )( Taylor & A ; Francis: 1996 ) 130
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