Rhetorical Strategies Used In Abolitionist Poetry

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Another noteworthy rhetorical strategy used in abolitionist poetry, is the use of religion and morality to support the abolition of the slave trade. One particular example of this is Hannah More, who perpetrates her own identity as a good, moral Christian as she was a well-known religious woman. She also identifies the morals a good Christian should live by and argues that Christians who support slavery are not acting the way God wishes. More also focuses on the actions of “good” Christians in her poetry. In her poem The Black Slave Trade she states that Christians who treat slaves in a cruel way or believes that it is acceptable to enslave black people are not Christians. She writes “what mercy can that God display, Whose servants murder……show more content…
She is actively declaring that Christians are not obeying God’s will and that, as his “servants” committing murder and such crimes towards slaves is not moral. Hannah More was extremely committed to Christianity, and her identity as a moral Christian would encourage those reading her poetry to address their own morality. Therefore, by engaging with both the idea of a good and moral Christian and her own identity, her abolitionist poetry can resonate with an audience who consider themselves good and moral Christians and persuade them that they are not if they are supporting the slave trade. By using religion as a convincing strategy for why slavery should be abolished More is appealing to people’s way of living and making them consider whether their values would please God. The use of religion and morality is not exclusive to More’s poetry, and can be seen with Elizabeth Barrett Browning. In The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point, In the fourth stanza the poem says “I am black! And yet God made me, they say;” (line 22,23). Browning is implying that God makes all humans, so despite their skin tone we are all equal. She emphasises this idea of religion and God in the final stanzas discussing Christ and his burden that he bore on the cross. Browning says “and all

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