Thursday, 28 September 2017

Write on Burkes’ Prose Style



Burke was an Anglo-Irish statesman, author, orator and political philosopher. He was not only a great orator but also a prolific writer. As he was a one of the finest parliamentary orators in Britain, his prose style is characterized by proportion, dignity and harmony.

Burkes’ is the prose of an orator. He employs all the rhetorical devices and figures in his writing. His style is the most strictly suited to the subject. Burke is a writer of romantic prose. The relation between Burke and the Romanticist is his power of investing with interest and color, the past experience of the race, and of making it appeal to the imagination.

Poetry is life force, the moving force of Burke's’ speech. In fact, he is the poet in prose. His eloquence is remarkable and his wisdom is profound and contemplative. He speaks in figures, images, symbols. The musical cadence of his sentences reflects the influence of his wide reading of poetry. His passions and feelings, his personal agony and anxiety towards the tyranny of the East India Company finds a spontaneous expression in his speech.

 Burke's’ style is dignified rather than graceful. His speech is all through marked by the devices of the orator-rhythm, alliteration, assonance, consonance, repetition, careful arrangement and balance of part etc. He is a master of what is called amplification. His prose is response to all the demands of thought and emotion, all the moods and tones.

Burke uses antitheses to sharpen the edge of an argument in the right place. In his speeches, he uses irony and sarcasm and these are his favorite weapons which supply his deficiency in the lack of humor. His ‘Speech on the East India Bill’ is replete with ironies uttered in sarcastic tone. For example when he says that the East India Company has 60,000 armed men, it runs the commerce of ‘half the globe’, he actually means that it is not supposed to have say so very subtle irony.

Burke had a wealth of classical allusions and historical illustrations which are unmistakable proofs of his scholarship and erudition. Other devices used by Burke are: rhetorical anticipation of an opponent’s objections, his pretended modesty, his colloquialisms, understatements, inversions, epigrams and condensed metaphor.

To sup up, we can say that Burke is the greatest master in English of the rhetoric of political wisdom.

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