In Oprah Winfrey’s eulogy to Rosa Parks and Brutus’s funeral speech to Caesar, the stylistic differences are evident. Though both speakers attempt to captivate their audiences with compelling speeches, Oprah Winfrey’s compassionate personality and ability to use rhetoric devices effectively prove her speech to have a greater impact on the audience than Brutus’s. When used correctly, rhetoric can have an immense impact on the effectiveness of a speech. By using pathos skillfully throughout her speech, Oprah successfully creates a warm, friendly atmosphere for her audience to be embraced in.
Numerous times in her speech, she thanks Rosa Parks for the advances she has made towards society. She builds upon this with a great amount of pathos, stating how much courage and selflessness Rosa had. Instead of mourning the death of Parks, Oprah skillfully shapes her speech to celebrate Rosa Parks’s success and achievements towards humanity. On the contrary, Brutus uses ethos and logos to reason with the crowd about killing their beloved Caesar. He tries to justify his murderous actions by saying he did what he did because Not that I didn’t love Caesar, but that I loved Rome more,.He reiterates the fact that he did what he did to benefit Rome. Brutus also tries to take the blame off himself throughout his entire speech by providing a rationale for each thing he says. This proves that Brutus’ purpose of giving his speech is to relieve himself of the blame and guilt that came along with killing Caesar, not to mourn him.. His speech does not demonstrate he feels guilt or even regret for killing Caesar.
Even his speech has bad intentions. Oprah’s speech was filled entirely with sorrow and emotion Because Brutus is a logical and rational-even stoic-man, he uses ethos and logos to try to gain credibility from his audience. However, in the end, raw emotion overpowers logic, proving that Oprah’s eulogy is more effective than Brutus’. Another reason why Oprah’s speech is so much more effective than the one Brutus gives is her personality and character. By opening with the line Reverend Braxton, family, friends, admirers, and this amazing choir, she captivates the audience just with the order of her words. She shows that she has respect for the people because she thinks of them first as family, second as friends, and lastly as admirers. Also, the tone she uses is very polite and humble, which makes the people feel not as subordinates, but as equal counterparts to her and aren’t threatened by her. Brutus, however, is not one to be known to respect or even interact with those lower in rank than him. He sets himself up for failure at the beginning of his speech, simply by stating his opening line.
He says Romans, countrymen, lovers, hear me for my cause,, immediately proving that he sees his audience first as Romans, second as countrymen, and lastly as friends. He unintentionally asserts his dominance right away, making the crowd feel less respected and therefore less trusting towards Brutus. His inability to be empathetic causes him to be unable to build an emotional bond with the audience, and therefore does not allow his speech to connect to the people as he had planned. Brutus’ ineptness towards the feelings of the audience results in his speech being a lot less effective than expected, especially when compared to Oprah’s skillfully delivered one. By tactfully utilizing rhetoric devices and incorporating different aspects of persuasion, Oprah and Brutus invoke different impressions on their audiences from their speeches. While trying to appeal to a crowds’ logical appeals may make sense in trying to persuade people to understand one’s actions, Oprah’s emotional appeals and comforting tone prove her speech to be more effective and compelling.
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