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Imagery in Speech to the Second Virginia Convention

Imagery Examples in Speech to the Second Virginia Convention:

Text of Henry's Speech

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"The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms!..."   (Text of Henry's Speech)

Henry employs auditory imagery to emphasize that the war has already begun: the cry of the men, the strong wind that rushes from the north, and the clash of resounding arms. The “clash” of the resounding arms illustrates a call to war. The combined sounds speak to the urgency for the nation to come together and wage war with the British.

"Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable—and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come...."   (Text of Henry's Speech)

With the second iteration of the chain metaphor, Henry emphatically exclaims that the “chains are forged!” He uses an appeal to pathos, amplified by the auditory imagery of the clanking chains, to encourage his audience to revolt.

"delusive phantom of hope,..."   (Text of Henry's Speech)

Henry, a pragmatist by nature, discouraged relying too heavily on hope. He believed in action above thought, and was one of the earliest proponents in the resistance efforts against the British. With the use of visual imagery, Henry characterizes hope as a “delusive phantom.” The word “delusive” refers to the act of tricking while a phantom connotes an illusion or hallucination. By describing hope as a phantom, he compares it to something intangible, ephemeral, and unreal.

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