Rhetorical devices

Allusions

In his statement on the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy alludes to the assassination of his brother, former President John F. Kennedy: 

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.

While he does not mention John F. Kennedy’s name directly, Kennedy’s allusion is easily understood by the audience. Here, the allusion makes Kennedy come across as a compassionate man who did not let his anger for his brother’s killer overcome him and dictate his actions. 

Kennedy also alludes to the Greek poet Aeschylus’ trilogy Orestia: “My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote: ‘In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, agai...

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