The Greatest Speech of all Time: Pericles’ Funeral Oration Essay Example
The Greatest Speech of all Time: Pericles’ Funeral Oration Essay Example

The Greatest Speech of all Time: Pericles’ Funeral Oration Essay Example

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  • Pages: 3 (589 words)
  • Published: April 12, 2022
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In Pericles funeral, Pericles gave a speech praising Athens after the Athenian soldiers died in an opening battle. The speech claims that the Athenians are able to strive for the greater good by putting their petty wants aside. Pericles claims that the people of Athens are bound together by mutual trust and the desire of being free. Therefore, the submission to the laws and obedience to the public officials is out of their own will rather than being forced by the law like the rest of the cities. The speech praises the dead soldiers, the people and the empire of Athens. The views were idealized and they ignored the reality which manifested as soon as he died. The paper is going to discuss the claims made by Pericles about Athens and Sparta during the funeral oration and the rhetorical effe


ct of the paragraph.

Pericles Funeral

The speech praised the virtues of the people of Athens redefining the virtues of the traditional Greeks in a new light. The speech claimed that Athens had achieved being rulers and the ruled forging a unique type of citizens. The people were described as clever and being open minded as well as tolerant enabling them to adapt to any situation and challenges. Pericles claimed that Athenians were the ideal people in the Greek world through the speech. The speech claimed that Sparta was not ideal Greek community and they followed the law and rules because they had no other choice (Harris, p. 165). According to Pericles, Sparta did not have the advantage Athens had since the city was splendid unlike Sparta. The speech claims that Sparta had not adopted the best system

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of governance and even though the soldiers of Athens had fallen at the opening battle, Sparta would never achieve what Athens had achieved.

The claims are accurate because Athens is worthy of admiration even in today’s context because the values of equality and democracy are associated with the city (Harris, p. 162). Democracy is the best form of governance and adopting it makes a city superior to others. The claims are accurate because even historically, Sparta never achieved the fame and glory Athens achieved. Up to date, democracy is referred to as what Pericles described the city of Athens. However, Pericles ignored the fact that party factionalism and selfishness could manifest a city as well as arrogance which came to happen after the death of Pericles. The speech warned the people against submission but did not tell the people about the best way of acting. The speech was not accurate in praising and justifying the actions of the citizens because it was supposed to show them the best way of acting rather than preaching democracy (Harris, p. 158).


The paragraph is rhetorically effective because it preaches about democracy. It is true that democracy is the best system of governance and it makes cities and nations that adopt it more superior to the others that adopt other systems of governance. The organization of the paragraphs is effective since the ideas followed each other substantially. Therefore, Pericles was able to garner support from the audience. The speech does not make an immediate appeal of people going to the war but frames the crisis meticulously through several appeals making the speech effective. The paragraphs remind the people of high minded

ideals in the governance and the comforts that come with the democratic form of governance.

Work cited

  1. Harris, Edward M. "Pericles' Praise of Athenian Democracy Thucydides 2.37. 1." Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 94 (1992): 157-167.
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