Claim/ Thesis: All three of the orators really appealed to the audience’s emotions. All of them new that they were put in tough situations to speak, and had to find a way to touch their audience’s hearts for them to continue to keep moving forwards. They way Pericles made his audience proud to be Athenian’s and proud to be there listening to him speak shows how he used the technique of pathos to get his message across more effectively than Lincoln and Bush.
Commentary: In order to be able to get his message across Pericles wanted his audience to understand why the Athenian soldiers sacrificed their lives, so they can put themselves in their shoes in a way. Pericles talks great about their city of Athens by comparing it to Sparta and saying how better they are militarily and politically. Pericles also used logos to get his point across, although some things he said may have been based on his opinion but the fact that Spartans from an early age are put to laborious training for battle and Athenians who don’t have such restrictions are still able to compete with them is actually true. This gives the audiences a huge sense of pride of how great their city is. When Pericles tells the audience why the brave Athenian troops sacrificed their lives, “This, then, is the kind of city for which these men, who could not bear the thought of losing her, nobly fought and nobly died.” (Pericles’ Funeral Oration) allows the audience to see how great their city-state is and why someone will die to keep it. Lincoln also uses logos to make his pathos technique stronger, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the propositions that all men are created equal.” Lincoln wanted his audience to realize that the Founding Fathers fought for the unity that the Civil War was fighting. But Pericles still did a better job of connecting his audience to the people who lost their lives.
Claim/ Thesis: The main purpose of Pericles’ funeral oration is for them to commemorate the lives that were lost war in service for the Athenian military. His speech was also meant to create a sense of national pride so the audience can feel proud to be Athenian and for them to have a deep appreciation for what the men who lost their lives did for them, and their great city-state of Athens. Pericles also made sure that the audience felt proud of themselves, and proud of what they have done for their nation as well.
Commentary: Pericles was given the responsibility to give a speech in an annual ceremony to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers during Athens’ many wars. His purpose was to pay his respects to the fallen Athenians and show an appreciation for what they did for their city-state. Pericles’ goal was to also give his audience pride in themselves and their city-state. Pericles kept a thought in his mind throughout the speech, “Then it is not easy to speak with a proper sense of balance…others who do not know so much may feel envy for the dead, and think that orator over-praises them, when he speaks of exploits that are beyond their own capacities. Praise of other people is tolerable only up to a certain point” he wanted to praise the brave men who sacrificed their lives but he did not want to go overboard and he also praised his audience for what they have done as well. “ And then we ourselves, assembled here today, who are mostly in the prime of life, have, in most directions, added to the power of our empire…”(Pericles’ Funeral Oration) this made the audience proud of themselves as well as proud of being from Athens, and made them more willing to listen to Pericles. Once Pericles had completed that purpose he moved on by putting the audience in the situation of the Athenian soldiers. He made the audience understand why they would make such a sacrifice for the city, and made them realized how great their city actually is by comparing Athens to Sparta. Pericles then goes on to give a call to action to his audience telling people who could have babies to have more so they can also contribute to their great empire. Pericles not only focused on the dead, but also praised the living.
Claim/ Thesis: The lack of detail to specify people and their contributions to each event, and the acknowledgement to both the dead and the living, show that here are a lot of similarities to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and Pericles’ funeral oration. I believe that Abraham Lincoln did gain inspiration from Pericles’ oration.
Commentary: Lincoln’s and Pericles’ speeches have a lot in common. Pericles’ speech is very well known and it is easy to believe that Lincoln modeled his address from Pericles’ oration. Both speeches are criticized for the same things, “Both texts are notable for their lack of detail. Just as Pericles failed to identify a single Athenian by name, Lincoln is equally circumspect: referring only to ‘a great battlefield,’ ‘brave men,’ ‘these honored dead,’ and ‘this nation’” (Pericles at Gettysburg) even though they were both criticized for the same things, it’s what makes both speeches great. Both speeches did a good job of not individualizing any person who was involved in each event. Even though some contributions from each fallen person might be bigger than another they each made the ultimate sacrifice and paid with their lives. The purpose of their speeches was to commemorate the sacrifices each person made, not single them out, their speeches were made to unite their respected nations not divide them Lincoln must have realized the effectiveness of Pericles’ referring to the Athenian soldiers as a whole and decided to do the same. Lincoln must have also realized how important it was for the audience to feel pride in themselves and acknowledged the living, not just the dead. “The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.” Lincoln let his audience know that they too were important even though they did not die for the cause. Lincoln could have gotten that idea from Pericles’ because he also did a good job of that, letting the audience know that they too contributed to their great empire and called them in to action to get better.
Claim/ Thesis: The main difference of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and Pericles’ funeral oration is that Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address has a greater sense of patriotism since he is supporting the Union and the Confederacy to become one nation again. While Pericles’ was one fighting against the city of Sparta which is a city in Greece where Athens is also located in. Both speeches were supporting two different causes.
Commentary: Besides the significant difference in length of the speeches, there is also a difference in patriotism and unity. Lincoln wanted to unite both the North and the South after huge battles, “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.” He wanted the Union and Confederacy to stick together as one nation, while Pericles compared how the city of Athens, was greater than the city of Sparta. Even though wars were pretty common during those times in Greece, Pericles still lacked the sense of union that Lincoln had during the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln’s speech was meant to join two separate groups in to one great nation, while Pericles’ speech was aimed to make one city feel inferior to the other.
Claim/ Thesis: Each orator was put in a tough situation to speech in front of a mournful audience; some were put in tougher situations than others. Out of the three orators President George W. Bush was on the toughest situation of them all on September 14, 2001.
Commentary: Most people might believe that George W. Bush had the easy job of speaking in this situation because anything he could have said would have been enough for an already vulnerable and fearful audience. That is exactly why it made it the most difficult situation. Pericles was a very educated and well-known as an orator, and his oration was planned out since Athens has annual funeral rituals. Lincoln had the responsibility to unite his nation with a speech but the Civil War’s bloodiest days have already been long gone. There was little pressure for Pericles and Lincoln compared to the pressure Bush was going through on September 14, 2001. Given his situation Bush was already in trouble before he even spoke, he was criticized for not speaking on the same day of the attacks. He made the nation wait three days after the attacks for him to speak so they were already expecting something that would pick them right up and be able to move forward to get justice for the people who lost their lives. Bush was known to be a poor orator, if Bush was not able to touch his audiences emotions given their vulnerable state his reputation would have only gotten worse, the expectations for this speech were only getting tougher. The topic was extremely sensitive so Bush had to say the right things, and he did. It came with a little luck because an audience member continued to repeat, “I can’t hear you.” Bush went on to say, “I can hear you. I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” This was the most emotional part of the speech, and without that bit of luck this speech would have not been the same. Given the “easy” circumstances to appeal to his audience’s emotions, and the sensitive topic of his speech George Bush had the toughest situation to speak in.