In Patrick Henry’s “Speech in the Virginia Convention,” he uses the techniques of rhetorical questions and repetition to persuade his audience, the colonists and president of the colonies, to go to war for their liberty. Henry uses the persuasive device of rhetorical questions throughout his speech to encourage his audience to agree to fight for independence. For example, Henry uses the question “Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty?” (204) to cause the colonists to think about the role they are playing in the fight for freedom. By asking this question, Henry is appealing to the logos of the audience by causing them logically to realize that ignoring the true, difficult situation that is occurring is not going to result in what is best for the colonies. This realization caused by the rhetorical question helps to convince the audience to go to war. Henry also uses the question “Why stand we here idle?” (206) towards the end of his speech to persuade the colonists and president to fight. This question also appeals to the logos of the audience by causing the colonists to think logically about why they are simply living normally while their liberty is being abused. This question encourages the colonists to battle for freedom by helping them realize that there is no good reason not to be fighting. The use of rhetorical questions throughout Henry’s speech persuades the colonists and president of the colonies to go to war for freedom by causing them to think about their actions and giving them reasons to fight.
Patrick Henry also uses the persuasive device of repetition to persuade the colonists and president of the colonies to go to war for freedom. For example, at one point in his speech, Henry says, “We must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight!” (205). The repetition of the phrase “we must fight” emphasizes Henry’s belief that the only solution to the struggle with England is to go to war, and it appeals to the pathos of the audience by causing the colonists to emotionally connect to how necessary fighting is in this situation. Since the colonists and president emotionally understand how important going to war is, Henry’s use of repetition persuades them to want to fight. Henry also uses repetition when he says, “The war is inevitable–and let it come. I repeat, sir, let it come!” (206), which stresses that Henry believes war is the only way to solve the problem that the colonies are having with England. The repetition of the phrase “let it come” is appealing to the logos of the colonists because Henry is telling them that they are logically in the perfect position for a war since the colonies are currently as strong as ever. By repeating this phrase, Henry is persuading his audience to welcome the war and fight since they are prepared. The use of repetition throughout the speech persuades the colonists and president to go to war for freedom because Henry emphasizes the importance of the war, and he convinces the colonists that fighting is necessary and that they are ready for it. Patrick Henry’s use of the devices rhetorical questions and repetition helps his “Speech in the Virginia Convention” to persuade the colonists and the president of the colonies to go to war and fight for their liberty.