Rhetorical Analysis of Steve Jobs’Stanford
Commencement SpeechTwo years ago, the world witnessed the death of one of the greatest business and technological leaders to ever exist.The founder of Pixar Animation, NeXT, and Apple,Steve Jobs,was widely recognized for revolutionizing the world of personal computers and consumer electronic fields. His perseverance led to considerable developments that have affected the lives of each and every one of us.
There is no denying that the innovations of Steve Jobs, which include Macintosh computers, iPods, and iPhones, have changed the world forever.Although Jobs is best known for his influence on the technological world, he is also recognized for his brilliant speaking abilities. Unlike many other businessleaders, Steve Jobs incorporatesan abundance of rhetorical aspects into his speeches and presentations.
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Jobs’ adequate preparation, visual simplicity, and extensive use of rhetoric make his world-renowned speeches and keynote presentations comparableto the speeches of famous orators.Due to Jobs’ extraordinary speaking abilities, he was invited to present a speech at the commencement of one of our nation’s eliteuniversities:StanfordUniversity.
This fourteen minute speech has now gained more than eighteen million views on YouTube and has become one of Steve Jobs’ most memorable speeches. Throughout thespeech, Jobs connects with his audience through various personal experiences and reflections on life. He appeals to the ethos, logos, and pathosof the audience in orderto strengthen his argument and encourage listeners to
Ivanov 2pursue their dreams. Jobs convinces his audience that they must do what they love and what makes them happy, even if these donot always go according to plan. Steve Jobs skillfully employs kairos as he speaks to the recent college graduates. He understands that his audience is filled with young, intelligent individuals, most of which are still searching for what to do with their lives. For this reason, Jobs shares personal anecdotes that everyone in his audience can relate to.
He discusses multiple instances from his lifetimein which he found himself inextremelyunfavorable situations, but was able to overcome adversity. At some moment in time everyone in the audience is likely to face similar adversity, or even lose everything they had once worked for. But Jobs skillfully connects with his audience and proves to them that as long as they are able to find their passions, they can quickly regain success.
From the first line of his speech, Steve Jobs immediately begins to appeal to the emotions of his audience as he complements the Stanford graduates, stating “I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world”(Jobs).Jobs then ironically exclaims, “I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve evergotten to a college graduation”(Jobs).Merely through these two statements, Jobs already establishes a sense of pathos in his speech by showing humility in himself and making the audience feel extremely accomplished.
Also, Jobs successfullysets a humorousmood for the rest of the speech.This assists in making both the audience and Jobs feel more comfortable and relaxed throughout the speech.After the brief, yet effective introduction,Jobs continues to discuss three specific, emotional, stories from his lifetime that everyone in the audience can relate to. By doing this, Jobs establishes a very simple structure throughout the entire speech, which accompanies his simple diction and short, concise sentence structures. Jobs structures his speech around three