Analysis

Here are the elements which will help you with your analysis of Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech. 

The rhetorical situation is that the speaker is Enoch Powell, a British politician and Conservative Member of Parliament. Powell delivers his speech to a Conservative Association meeting in Birmingham, UK, where he addresses the issue of immigration.

The composition of the speech can be split into five parts, in which Powell attempts to present a variety of reasons why he disapproves of mass immigration from the Commonwealth. Several confessions from ordinary British citizens help Powell express his belief that he speaks on behalf of the general public. 

Powell’s style of language is formal and mainly deals with political issues. Due to his choice of words and the figurative language he introduces at times, his speech can be interpreted as racist and provoking. 

The rhetorical devices that Powell uses, including rhetorical questions, repetition, and antithesis, help him express his criticism and distress regarding the effects of mass immigration to the UK. Most of the rhetorical devices he uses are provoking and intended to lead to agitation among the UK population. 

Powell relies on all three forms of appeal to engage his audience. He mainly uses arguments based on pathos in his grim predictions, but he also relies on ethos and logos to establish his authority. 

You can read a full analysis of the speech on the following pages. 

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