New version page

SC SAEL 200 - SAELSpeech1

This preview shows page 1-2 out of 6 pages.

View Full Document
View Full Document

End of preview. Want to read all 6 pages?

Upload your study docs or become a GradeBuddy member to access this document.

View Full Document
Unformatted text preview:

Hunter HartnettSAEL 200-0287 March 2014Critical Speech AnalysisCritical Speech Analysis: The Death PenaltyThe American criminal justice system is subject to much criticism in today’s media, and no one issue is has had more call for reform than the death penalty. Anthony Fontana, in his “discovering an issue” speech, covered this often-controversial topic, looking at it from both points of view, and offering is own thoughts on the matter. He provided plenty of background information and statistics, and provided enough unbiased information to the class for us to have a stance on the issue, an important characteristic of any informative speech.Fontana started off his speech provided statistics on the death penalty. He states that 35% of Americans actively oppose the death penalty, but that 32 states with in the country still had capital punishment in their system. He continued to relay information regarding racial inequality on death row, with over 50% of death row inmates being African American men, although they only make up 13% of the population. He continues to provide other statistics on income level and ability of the individuals to defend themselves in court. I noticed through this section of his speech that he is very effective at relaying important and what could be considered “unbiased” statistics, but uses them to start to build his stance on the issue. He provides information that point towards an inequality with in the capitalpunishment system, especially affecting African Americans and those less fortunate who can’t afford a strong enough defense to protect them.After giving background statistics on capital punishment, Anthony moved on to the procedures used to, with out a better word, “put down” the convicted. He also highlighted the concern that, even if later the inmate is to be innocent, the procedureis irrevocable. His counter argument to this was that if this individual had instead gone to jail he could be released after the issue is corrected. Although I don’t see this as a permanent fix, it is certainly better than having the wrongly accused killed. This point provided a reasonable alternative to what many see as a flawed characteristic of the system. He than went on to touch on what he described as the most debated issue of the death penalty, its morality. He brought up the issue of “playing god” or the fact that one individual should or should not decide another’s fate, or more specifically whether they should be able to take the life of another. Can this concept be brought down to a cultural matter? As James Rachels, in The Elements of Moral Philosophy, states; “The idea of universal truth in ethics is a myth” (Rachels 17). However, there is also the possibility that it is smaller than that, that it is based on anindividuals beliefs and understandings. This, in my opinion, is what the argument comes down to. Whether you, as an individual, believe than one human being shouldbe able to take life from another. Some believe that it is only fair, as often the convicted individual is guilty of that very same offense. However, the counter to this is that if it is so wrong, than why are we committing the same crime on the offender. Do we, or should we, have that power? From the Fundamentals of Ethics, “Do the ends always justify the means, or are there certain types of action that should neverbe done under any circumstance” (Shafer-Landau 2). Should the offender be subject to his own crime, or are we overstepping our boundaries as fellow human beings in fatally punishing another.As Fontana moved towards the final part of his speech, he started to discuss both the “pros” and “cons” of the issue. This seemed to be an effective way tomove towards the end of his speech, as he left the audience contemplating both sides in their head after he finished. That is, in my opinion, the goal every speaker should have going into their presentation. I think it is impossible to remain completely unbiased throughout any speech, as supported by Hannah Arendt, who, in her work The Human Condition, states “In acting and speaking, men show who they really are, reveal actively their unique personal identities and thus make their appearance in the human world” (Arendt 179). Fontana didn’t stray from this statement, as I was able to discern that he was not in support of the death penalty through his relay of its negative aspects. However this was very subtle, and nearly as close as he could remain to neutral with out taking away from the “feel” of the speech. His subtle stance strengthens the effect and reach of the speech. According to Excitable Speech, “language is not only the theme of it’s formulation, but it’s very action…this figuring appear to exemplify the agency at issue” (Butler 5) When you lose position on a speech, you also begin to lose its effectiveness.In his speech concerning capital punishment, Anthony Fontana excelled in his discussing and subsequent explanations of arguments for and against the death penalty. He provided enough information to let the audience make theirown informed decision on the matter, but that didn’t keep him for allowing his beliefs to be heard.Works CitedArendt, Hannah. The Human Condition. Second ed. Chicago: University Of Chicago, 1998. Print.Butler, Judith. Excitable Speech: The Politics Of The Performative. New York: Routledge, 1999. Print.Rachels, James. The Elements of Moral Philosophy. Second ed. New York City: McGrawHill, 1993. Print.Shafer-Landau, Russ. The Fundamentals of Ethics. Second ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, n.d.


View Full Document
Loading Unlocking...
Login

Join to view SAELSpeech1 and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or
We will never post anything without your permission.
Don't have an account?
Sign Up

Join to view SAELSpeech1 and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or

By creating an account you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use

Already a member?