In Former President Barack Obama’s 2013 inaugural speech, Obama uses many rhetorical devices to make sure the audience understand and comprehend what he foresees for the nation. As he takes the stand for his inauguration speech, he stands there for a brief moment, waves at his audience, and thanks them for having elected him. He begins slowly, gradually acknowledging the Cabinet, from the VP, then Chief Justice, the Congress, guests, and finally the citizens of this great nation. With an introduction as composed as this, we as the audience can see he was not only calm, but also very well prepared for the presentation.
As he begins his speech, he uses his prose to give the audience a sense of security, and that he will guide the nation in the right direction. He refers back to some of the most important documents in history, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Using the Declaration to show unity, and reinforces this throughout his speech by not using the pronoun “I”, but rather uses “we”, including himself as a citizen, and not the President. As he continues saying how certain things are self-evident in this world, however we must work together to become a great nation. By including everyone in the actions and efforts that Obama plans to do, he is building his ethos.
However, even though the inclusion of everyone builds his ethos, it also builds pathos throughout his speech. The more Obama includes the audience, the more they embrace what he says. He repeats certain phrases to build the audience up and give the audience a sense of purpose to fight and reinforce his message. By referring to era’s in which people were not given their rights; such as Women’s Rights, LGBT Rights, Black Rights, Obama calls to the nation to make the decisions necessary in order to truly make the phrase “All men are created equally.”
Another aspect of Obama’s speech that provides the audience with excitement would be how when he is about to make a point, Obama begins slowly, and then adds energy and speed to his sentences building up to the point. Once he is ready to say his point, he pauses, allowing everyone to fully grasp what he says.