Therefore, with so many powerful
rhetorical devices, such as synonymy, parenthesis, climax, paradox and oxymoron, instilled in his speech, Nixon
efficiently achieved his purpose to preserve his image as an honest and reliable
leader for America.
Last of all, paradox and oxymoron was an important rhetoric
Nixon deployed in his speech. In the beginning of his speech, Nixon mentioned
that “You are here to say goodbye to us…”, but “We will see you again…” This
indicates that Nixon was not planning to fully stand down as one of America’s greatest political leaders until he
sees his people again. The “deepest valley” and the “highest mountain” also
juxtaposed each other, with both representing extremes. Nixon used yet another
oxymoron when he said that “we think that when we suffer a defeat that all is
ended” but immediately followed it up by saying “not true”. Truth is pure and
undamaged. Describing the thought as “not true” brings an oxymoron into Nixon’s
speech. The two words compare each other so finely that they almost
complemented each other. These oxymorons forced the audience to consult the
deeper, figurative meaning of Nixon’s speech.
Furthermore, Nixon built up his arguments from
the weakest to the strongest in order to emphasise
the climax of his speech, the last paragraph. This was evident through the
change in language style. In the first few paragraphs, conversational language
was used, such as “top man”, and “ducked it”. In contrast, towards the end of
his speech, Nixon switched to more formal language; this served as a build-up to the serious and crucial part of his
speech. By leaving his most powerful argument until the end, Nixon left the
most impact on his audience.
Secondly, Nixon also deployed parenthesis for
countless times throughout his speech.
Examples include: “We can be proud of it – five and a half years”
and “But you are getting something in government – and I want you to tell this
to your children, and I hope the Nation’s children will hear it, too –
something in government service that is far more important than money.” By using these
hyphens, Nixon emphasised his ideas to
increase the clarity of his arguments for the reader to better comprehend his
To start with, synonymy was
deployed by Nixon throughout his speech. Examples of synonymy include: “no man or no
woman”, “sometimes right, sometimes wrong”, “the young must know it, the old
must know it”, “the greatness comes” and “some knocks, some disappointments”.
Through this rhetorical device, not only was the literal meaning of the text
reinforced, but Nixon’s figuratively message was also strengthened. Therefore,
synonymy allowed for a greater rhetoric for Nixon, making his purpose more
understandable by his audience.
Nixon, through his effective use of
rhetoric, achieved his purpose to bid farewell to the American public while
maintaining his credibility and worthiness as a political leader despite his
misconduct. Some rhetorical devices he used in his speech include synonymy,
parenthesis, climax and most importantly, paradox and oxymoron.