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Ireland Unfree Shall Never Be at Peace – Patrick Pearse

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Ireland Unfree Shall Never be at Peace is a speech given by Patrick Pearse, a teacher, lawyer, poet, writer and also a political activist, during the funeral of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa on 1 August 1915. This speech was delivered at the Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin, where several prominent Irish national figures are buried. When Pearse gave his speech, British politicians such as the Prime Minister W. Gladstone tried to give to Ireland more political independence.

But what is at stake in this document is that some Irish want to be ruled by themselves and not by London anymore.

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Unfree” in the tittle could be interpreted by the way as if Ireland was a prisoner of the United Kigdom. That is why several Irish claimed their independence and want to contend for this. O’Donovan Rossa is one of the founding member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, an organization created to put down the British rule in Ireland. Pearse joined this organization few months after its creation, because he did not want Britain as a ruler for his own country.

Thus, let’s see now how did Patrick Pearse try to convince his audience all along his speech? What are the techniques he used and what are the effects they provoked?

Patrick Pearse never hide his patriotism, his wish of an independent country with no one except Irish themselves who can rule it. He fought all along his life to defend the values he believed in, and the Irish independence was part of them. To rouse Irish Republican feeling, Patrick Pearse uses O’Donovan Rossa’s death as a pretext, as a reason to show and explain how the Ireland he wants looks like. He first uses the notion of unity to make people feel as one, to make people realize that Ireland is just one part that can not be divided by anyone, including Britain.

Indeed, all along the document we can read that Pearse uses the pronoun “we” to express his feelings and thoughts (“We of the Irish Volunteers.. ” ; “in the name of all” ; “the thought and the hope that are in us” ; “our own dear comrades”… ). It stands to reason that he includes the audience around him in his words in order to make them agree with what he says: he maintains his thoughts and people must hang onto Pearse’s every word, he conduces them to think as he does. Plus, the notion of “togetherness” and thus also brotherhood (l. 6 “together”; “brotherly union”), can be read between the lines, because if Ireland stay united no one could fight them. Together, Irish can do everything to defend their values (pathos). Futhermore, the notion of unity is close to the notion of nationalism. Indeed, by talking about the “devotion to Ireland” l. 26, “the dead generation of Ireland” l. 19, “graves of patriot men and women” l. 43, P. Pearse makes a whole population linked by a common culture, a common history, a common past, and as he hopes, a common future.

Being aware that building a national community thanks to the links a population has, and which units them is what Pearse dreams of. Plus, by making references to Gaelic and Gael (e. g l. 25, 27), the ancient Irish, Pearse reenforces this idea of a common culture which last for decades and decades. The past link the nowadays population, no matter what we can say. (logos) By insisting on some words through repetitions (mainly on adjectives and nouns), Patrick Pearse subtly tries to let in people’s mind the main important ideas he want them to remember.

As an example, from line 12 to line 13, “such” is repeated three times: this word insists on Rossa’s qualities in the state of a fighting Irish who never let things falling down. Thanks to a simple word, O’Donovan Rossa appears as an example for the whole Fenian population. And thanks to “such”, the qualities developed look stronger, more real. From line 23 to line 25, “Splendid” is also repeated, and once again it reenforce all the qualities Rossa had. And Pearse insists on these qualities because it would be better if some people had the same determination to succeed.

He also wants the new generation to hear his voice (l. 6, l. 40) and to be part of the “Fenian Faith” by taking in example what men as Rossa did during their lives. In other words all along the speech, repetitions reenforces Pearse’s wishes and ideas or rather make people more attentive and watchful, more touched by what it is said. Religion is also on purpose in this document. Indeed, we are able to find a lot of religious connotations, because as we saw it below, Patrick Pearse was a member of the Irish Volunteers, or in other words a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.

Moreover, when you are a member of the IRB, you are a fenian, and fenians were Catholics (c. f l. 10 “we renew our baptismal vows”). l. 30, “spiritual communion” is repeated twice because Pearse want his audience to stay connected with Rossa but also with those who fought or who are still fighting for Ireland and its freedom. He uses the religious feeling to mislead his audience, to get them on his side. Through religion, Patrick Pearse put his message across, subtly, because all his audience could feel concern when he talks about spirituality, “God”, or “communion”.

Plus, “communion” is certainly a religious term but it is also link to the unity Pearse want. It is here a symbolism. Communion between people, God, and strength. Three points that could help members of the IRB to lead to independence, liberty, and freedom. In addition, rhetorical devices are used. l. 29 “… not free merely, but Gaelic as well; not Gaelic merely, but free as well”: Pearse explain through this chiasmus what was Rossa’s vision of Ireland. Not a completely free country, but a country united around these common values that we talked about just below.

A country united through Gaelic, through those who spoke the Gael, the ancient Irish; a country united thanks to their ancestors. There is also an other chiasmus l. 38 (“Our foes are strong and wise and wary: but, strong and wise and wary as they are… ”) where Patrick Pearse talks explicitly about Britain; even if British have several qualities, they won’t and they can’t struggle against Irish because God is protecting them, and God is protecting the new Irish generation who will lead to the Irish independence.

To conclude, Patrick Pearse wants to arouse nationalist sentiment, he wants Republicans to be mobilize to create all the necessary conditions for a rising . To convince his audience, he uses the three axes of the art of persuasion: logos, pathos, egos. Pearse prey on Rossa’s funeral to make his oration, and put Ireland on the first line to became independent, whereas he puts Britain down because of its power in Ireland. “Ireland unfree shall never be at peace”, because as long as Britain will rule Ireland, Republicans will never give up.

Cite this Ireland Unfree Shall Never Be at Peace – Patrick Pearse

Ireland Unfree Shall Never Be at Peace – Patrick Pearse. (2016, Oct 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/ireland-unfree-shall-never-be-at-peace-patrick-pearse/

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