Rhetorical devices


President Joe Biden’s Inaugural Address uses antithesis to compare the America of the future that he wants to create with the current state of the United States: “We shall write an American story of hope, not fear. Of unity, not division. Of light, not darkness”. Antithesis is also used to highlight the importance of Americans moving forward as a united people in order to heal their nation: “Without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury. No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos”.

The use of antithesis in these paragraphs highlights the differences between what the United States currently is like and what it could and should be, according to Biden. In this way, Biden creates a dramatic contrast in order to show Americans the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to change it.

Allusions and direct references

Throughout the speech, Biden makes multiple direct references to past or current events. He starts off his speech by alluding to the Capitol Attack that took place a few days prior: 

So now, on this hallowed ground where just days ago violence sought to shake this Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivi...

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