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Analyzing Rhetoric and Rhetorical Devices
The intended audience for this speech is a combination of members of Congress and the
American public, as it was delivered to Congress and was broadcast to the entire nation.
President Bush appealed to the ethos in several instances in his speech. Ethos is a
fundamental component of persuasive communication that hinges on the perceived credibility and
moral character of the speaker (Leonte p.9). It influences how the audience interprets and trusts
the speaker’s message. Speakers can effectively persuade their audience and gain their confidence
in the information or argument being presented by establishing their authority, expertise, and
trustworthiness. Ethos plays a crucial role in establishing a strong foundation for effective
communication and building connections with the audience (Baumlin p. 4). One example of
President Bush’s appeal to ethos is when he said “I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims
throughout the world. We respect your faith” (Lines 95-96). President Bush established his
credibility and ethos by addressing Muslims directly and expressing respect for their faith, thus
emphasizing tolerance and understanding. The second example is when he mentioned, “Tonight
we welcome two leaders who embody the extraordinary spirit of all New Yorkers: Governor
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George Pataki, and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani” (Lines 139-140). President Bush enhanced his ethos
and demonstrated unity and support for those in positions of authority by acknowledging and
praising the leadership of Governor Pataki and Mayor Giuliani. The third example of President
Bush’s appeal to ethos is when he said, “And on behalf of the American people, I thank the world
for its outpouring of support.” By expressing gratitude to the international community, he
demonstrates that the United States is a nation that values and appreciates global solidarity during
times of crisis. This depiction presents the United States as a responsible and gracious participant
on the worldwide platform, thereby strengthening its credibility and moral standing.
Three parts of the speech that were particularly interesting
One part of the speech that was particularly interesting was the opening of the speech
(Lines 1-8). President Bush begins with a powerful introduction acknowledging the tragic events
and expressing the strength and unity of the American people. This appeals to pathos by addressing
the emotions of the audience, providing a sense of reassurance and determination. The second part
of the speech that was interesting was the section addressing the demands of the Taliban (Lines
114-127). This part of the speech is memorable because it outlines the U.S. government’s demands
on the Taliban and sets a clear, logical course of action. It appeals to logos by presenting a
structured plan to address the situation. Lastly, the conclusion of the speech (Lines 145-157) was
also interesting and memorable. The conclusion is particularly memorable as it invokes a strong
sense of national unity and purpose, thus appealing to both pathos and logos. It highlights the ethos
of those who have shown exceptional courage and sacrifice while reinforcing the message of
determination and shared values.
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Baumlin, James S., and Charles A. Meyer. “Positioning Ethos in/for the Twenty-First Century: An
Introduction to Histories of Ethos.” Humanities, vol. 7, no. 3, 2018, p. 78,
Leonte, F. Ethos, Logos, and Perspective: Studies in Late Byzantine Rhetoric. Taylor & Francis,
PBS NewsHour. “President George W. Bush’s address to a joint session of Congress following
9/11.” 2001, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF7cPvaKFXM.
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