Oratory Analysis Essay

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Name: ___________________________________________________ Period: _____________________

Oratory Analysis Essay

25 Points Total

In a detailed essay, analyze how the speaker’s delivery contributes to speech’s purpose. Start by claiming the intent or the purpose of the speech and then examine the specific details of their delivery that helps convey this purpose to the audience. In addition to examining how delivery affects the overall purpose, feel free to explain the tone that is achieved through writing and how the delivery reinforces the tone of the content.




Vocal Emphasis / Inflection

Articulation and Pronunciation

Body Language

Eye Contact



Facial Expressions

Avoidance of filler words

Use of lectern or podium

Speech Selection Ideas:

*Keep in mind that you are analyzing delivery. You must be able to watch and/or listen to the speech be delivered!

  • Presidential Speeches (G. W. Bush, Clinton, Eisenhower, JFK, Nixon, FDR, Obama, etc.)

  • Historic Events (Cuban Missile Crisis, 9/11, Nazi Invasions, etc.)

  • World Leaders (MLK, Churchill, Mandela, Pope John Paul II, Elie Wiesel, etc.)

  • Famous Lines ("the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself")

--Classic, Historical Speeches. A staple to Declamation, looking at speeches that have become memorable moments in history often lead you to well-written works that have lasted through time for a reason. Most have a strong message, good support, wonderful rhetoric, and a powerful call to action. They lend themselves to being performed. Be warned though. Try to avoid such well-known pieces you are sure to falter with everyone's own vision for the speech; or worse, the video people hold in their memories of the original speaker! Also, be sure that the message is still relevant to today's society.

--Commencement Speeches. These speeches are often full of empowering encouragement, warnings for turbulent trials ahead, and the promise of success if one trudges on with determination. What makes these speeches interesting to sift through is the magnitude of who delivers them--there is practically a speaker for every mood. Comedians, politicians, actors, activists, etc. all are the various type of people asked to deliver these speeches. Ergo, a Declamation performer is given the chance to choose a speech with humor or one strictly serious. The only catch is because most commencement speeches follow a similar outline, originality may be difficult to find.

--Political Debates and Human Rights Speeches. These can be anything from a Presidential address to a public speech delivered at a rally as a call to action. Any political or historical icons you admire? Research them and see what public records hold of past public appearances or speeches they have done. Check out records of historical Congressional debates as well and see if any deliberations or filibusters strike interest.

--Courtroom Speeches. Often at trials a lawyer will deliver an eloquent speech to save an innocent or society. Why should you care? Anything happening in a courtroom is documented by the Court Reporter. Even better, these recordings are open for public access. A good Declamation might be found in the recordings of a popular court case.

--Eulogy. If you are looking for something a bit on the dramatic side, a eulogy could be a perfect match. Think of some figures in history who led incredible lives, and begin locating what people had to say at their funeral. You may even choose a figure that is controversial to add some spice to your piece.



  • http://www.americanrhetoric.com/top100speechesall.html

  • http://www.history.com/speeches

  • http://www.artofmanliness.com/2008/08/01/the-35-greatest-speeches-in-history/

  • http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1841228,00.html

  • http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/previous.htm

Essay Rubric

Needs Improvement


Meets Requirements

- √ √+

Exceeds Expectations


Claim: The claim is well-stated and clearly identifies the author’s overall argument.


Development & Evidence: The writer clearly interprets the speaker’s delivery and how it affects the speech’s purpose and/or tone. This is achieved through the identification and analysis of specific delivery examples as support and accurately describes the effect of the delivery strategy on the audience. Evidence explicitly or implicitly refers to the speech offering specific details, clearly addressing the most important parts of the speech to support strong analysis/explanation. Evidence and analysis are properly balanced.


Organization: The essay is purposefully organized in a clear, coherent, and cohesive manner that includes an introduction, a clear, logical progression of ideas, and a conclusion.


Clarity and Control of Language: The essay uses precise diction, sentence variety, transitional phrases, and few grammatical or usage errors.


_____/ 25 Points Total

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