Rhetorical Analysis Of John Edwards On The Hands Of An Angry God Essay

Rhetorical Analysis Of John Edwards On The Hands Of An Angry God Essay

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During the time when Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God was being written, there was much religious unrest. It had been only three decades since the gruesome Salem trials which led to the imprisonment and death of hundreds. This shocking massacre of innocent people led to a religious movement called the Great Awakening which Edwards led the charge in. Edwards preached to the masses about the revival of the interest in religion and a need for redemption in the eyes of God. Edward’s success in influencing the masses came not only because of the subjects about what he was speaking, but also because of his clever rhetorical strategies. Some of the rhetorical tools he employed were rhetorical questioning, similes, and anaphora.
One type of rhetorical device that Edwards used was a rhetorical device. A rhetorical question, “ is asked just for effect or to lay emphasis on some point discussed when no real answer is expected. A rhetorical question may have an obvious answer but the questioner asks rhetorical questions to lay emphasis to the point. In literature, a rhetorical question is self-evident and used for style as an impressive persuasive device. Broadly speaking, a rhetorical question is asked when the questioner himself knows the answer already or an answer is not actually demanded. So, an answer is not expected from the audience. Such a question is used to emphasize a point or draw the audience’s attention (Literary Definitions Rhetorical Question Definition). An archetype of a rhetorical question in the text is "what are we, that we should think to stand before him, at whose rebuke the earth trembles, and before whom the rocks are thrown down (Edwards 2).” Here, Edwards is saying that we are nothing compared to the God that ...


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...ul and wicked compared to solemn worship. The reason behind this anaphora is to keep restating that without God’s help, we are unworthy to go anywhere except for the depths of Hell.
Edwards’ amazing oral communication skills not only convey the message in a clean and simple way, but they also make the reader or the listener think about what they have done with their life. This is mostly in thanks to his talented use of rhetoric. His use of rhetoric, especially similes, anaphora, and rhetorical questioning, make his thoughts clear and thought provoking. Edwards’ speeches definitely sparked a growing interest in religion and redemption. In fact, his speeches continue to impact people around the world who want a deep understanding of Puritanism and what it truly means. He was undoubtedly one of the most important and powerful Puritan orators and theologians to this day.

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