Rhetorical Analysis of Hillary Clinton speech

Hillary Clinton speech “Women’s Rights are Human Rights.”

Rhetorical analysis intends to analyze strategies a speaker utilized to deliver an effective speech rather than what they spoke. Furthermore, it seeks to study and decipher how all the speech sections relate to each other. Hilary Clinton is an American politician with extremely vast knowledge and experience in not only politics but social issues affecting people all over the world. Additionally, she is also a lawyer, writer, diplomat and a public speaker who commands attention and respect on stage. First and foremost Hilary Clinton is a woman. As such, she is a woman with vast knowledge and power able to access a global platform making her a force to reckon. As a woman, she understands most of the day to day challenges that all women go through either through her own experiences and from her fellow female counterparts (“Transcript: Hear Hillary Clinton’s Women’s Rights Are Human Rights”). As a woman, she is predisposed to understand motherhood through her only child, Chelsea Clinton and being a wife to her husband of almost 44 years, Bill Clinton. Holding the title, Mrs. Clinton saw her stand with her husband as scandals of affairs rocked his presidency and out of the public eye, their marriage. An ordinary woman would have walked away from the union. She chose to stand by her husband. Even through his impeachment. Consequently, she not only exhibits loyalty, maturity, and character but also a strong-willed woman who not only stands by what she believes in unshaken but is also passionate about the things and people she loves. In addition to that, she exhibited political endurance by not only running for the presidency once but twice which was quite a feat as she also garnered significant numbers of votes. As such when she spoke at Amalia Pica’s Now, Speak! Installation 24 years ago, she achieved to portray all those traits, despite some events unfolding later, and her excellent skills and knowledge of public speaking. To accomplish this, she used literary devices to enable her to reach out to the audience. This paper seeks to selectively analyze some of the literal devices which she used to persuade and convince the audience.

Throughout the speech, Hilary can exhibit her knowledge of using words with connotative meanings to describe similar events in different places through her diction. She mentions apartheid which was experienced significantly in South Africa. Furthermore, she mentions  tyranny. Even though both terms are defined differently, they are both similar connotatively in association with cruel treatment. As such, they imply similar yet different events but evoke the same word to mind. Under apartheid, (“Transcript: Hear Hillary Clinton’s Women’s Rights Are Human Rights”) people faced cruelty on the grounds of their race. Similarly, the association of tyranny with administrative rule through cruelty and oppression. Both events evoke similar thoughts due to the mistreatment of people. There’s also use of the word nurture and care. Both words are also detonated differently but associate with the protection of something or someone where in this scenario, the children. To bring emphasis into her experiences with women all over the world under different conditions, she repetitively uses ‘I have…’Here She uses repetition to make it clearer and more memorable to the audience. She explores her interaction with different women from extremely different backgrounds all trying their best to thrive as mothers and women either at different times or simultaneously. Utilization of dysphemism in Hilary’s speech is noted. Dysphemism is a form of a literary device description of certain graphics events is detailed. She tells of babies whose spines have been broken, drowned, suffocate and starved to death because they are girls. She goes on to add how some girls and women have been doused in gasoline and set on fire to burn to death because their dowries were deemed too small. Additionally, mentions similar horrific events such as forced abortion, sterilization, and prostitution.

To enable the audience to understand the essence of empowering women, she symbolizes them as the core of a flourishing nation which starts from the family, proceeds to the community and finally the whole country. Here she can show how women play a crucial role in overall societal and economic growth. She can symbolize them as the key to achieving all this by focusing primarily on their empowerment. She briefly but fruitfully explores the use of symbolism. In doing so, she portrays women as protagonists. It establishes the use of conflict as a real device where women go through harsh conditions in different societies. Through battle, she can explore how women are trying to overcome their hurdles but are still opposed and face resistance in achieving their goals, hopes, and dreams. The hurdles they face include disregarding their right to education, forbidden access to bank lending offices and banning them from voting hence making them more vulnerable and prone to abuse (“Transcript: Hear Hillary Clinton’s Women’s Rights Are Human Rights”). Observation of introduction of irony where she notes that despite being primary caretakers, one would not be faulted to think that their efforts are recognized or maybe even awarded, society treasuring their work but not yet accepted by historians, valued by economists, leaders nor popular culture. Conclusively the irony is drawn from the fact despite the frequent mention they are fundamental caregivers in the society, the essential roles they play beyond that would be recognized as is expected but this so far has never been the case.

Establishment of the use of tragedy is noted. It is about a series of unfortunate events women have gone through or are still going through culminating into disastrous events. As mentioned, denying women access to political processes predisposes them to abuse. As such, events where women are not allowed to voice their rights in education, politics or social events such as marriage has amplified their tolerance to different forms of abuse (“Transcript: Hear Hillary Clinton’s Women’s Rights Are Human Rights”) as noted in the speech where they burned to death and unable to protect their children has led to some having their spines broken and killed for being born female. Tragedy occurs in the form of rape in addition to emphatically stating that tragically women are the ones who face the most violation of human rights. There’s also subtle use of an analogy. An analogy is used to establish similarities between the two concepts. Through the flourishment of a woman, a nation is also able to flourish. One idea is at the personal level while the other is on a large scale. Despite the difference regarding range, the speech notes that if one can be allowed to, it will precipitate the growth of the other hence achieve growth at the national level. Lastly, there is the use of aphorism. An aphorism is the statement of an opinion that is generally understood to be the universal truth; not profound but always real. In this case, the achievement of suffrage happened without a shot fired. Despite highlighting the reality that women were allowed to vote without violence, Hilary can take on a witty jab on those who use arms and force, no gunshots adding that consequently avoiding another world war simultaneously. Here we observe here underlying tone on hate of gun violence which she has used in her presidential campaigns as part of her agenda.

In conclusion, we are able to analyze Hilary Clinton’s use of literal devices comprehensively and able to draw that they enabled her to make a speech that is referenced to and referred to 25 years down the line. Not only is she able to be emphatic differently, but she is also able to use simple diction. Her ability to recognize tragic events across the globe not only show her knowledge of the facts but also allows to audience find common ground on tragedy suffered. The speech was able to deliver its purpose to the audience and stretching far beyond them — reiteration on the importance of treating women as human beings. Additionally, the speech has even played a key role in precipitating events that have seen a decrease in abuse of women. It was able to not only empower women but also encourage society to help uplift and organization to rehabilitation itself. Conclusively, we can note the importance and effects of literary devices on the delivery of memorable speeches.








Work cited

“Transcript: Hear Hillary Clinton’s Women’s Rights Are Human Rights.” Museum Of Fine Arts

Boston. N.p., 2019. Web. 1 Feb. 2019.

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