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Updated Jan 25, 2023

The Power of Synathroesmus: A Rhetorical Device that Ignites Emotion and Persuasion


Rhetoric is the art of persuasive communication, and throughout history, skilled orators and writers have utilized various rhetorical devices to captivate their audiences. One such powerful device is synathroesmus, which elevates the impact of a message by utilizing a series of coordinated adjectives or adverbs. In this article, we will explore the concept of synathroesmus, understand its purpose, and analyze some compelling examples from famous speeches and literature.

Understanding Synathroesmus

Derived from the Greek words "syn" (together) and "athroizō" (to assemble), synathroesmus is a figure of speech that involves the use of multiple adjectives or adverbs with the same root word or similar grammatical structure. This rhetorical device aims to intensify the emotional impact of a message, evoking vivid imagery and creating a lasting impression on the audience.

Examples of Synathroesmus in Famous Speeches

Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech

One of the most iconic speeches in history, Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, is replete with powerful rhetorical devices, including synathroesmus. Consider the following excerpt:

"...I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood... that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

In this passage, King uses the coordinated adjectives "former" and "former" to emphasize the historical significance and the shared heritage of both African Americans and white Americans. By employing synathroesmus, King deepens the emotional impact of his dream for racial equality and promotes a sense of unity among his listeners.

Winston Churchill's "We Shall Fight on the Beaches" speech

During World War II, Winston Churchill delivered a series of inspiring speeches to rally the British people. In his famous "We Shall Fight on the Beaches" speech, Churchill employed synathroesmus to bolster the determination and resilience of his compatriots:

"We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be."

Here, Churchill uses the coordinated adjectives "fight," "fight," and "fight" to emphasize the unwavering commitment of the British people to defend their homeland. The repetition of the root word intensifies the resolve and determination expressed in his words.

Synathroesmus in Literature

William Shakespeare's "Macbeth"

Synathroesmus is not limited to speeches; it also finds its way into literature. In Shakespeare's tragedy "Macbeth," the titular character contemplates the consequences of his actions with a powerful synathroesmus:

"...full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

In this famous soliloquy, Macbeth uses the coordinated adjectives "sound" and "fury" to describe life. By employing synathroesmus, Shakespeare magnifies the sense of futility and insignificance that Macbeth feels, adding depth to the character's emotional turmoil.


Synathroesmus is a rhetorical device that enables speakers and writers to amplify their messages, evoke strong emotions, and persuade their audience effectively. By skillfully utilizing coordinated adjectives or adverbs, this device creates vivid imagery and leaves a lasting impact on the listeners or readers. From Martin Luther King Jr.'s inspiring dream of equality to Winston Churchill's unwavering resolve, and even in Shakespeare's portrayal of human emotions, synathroesmus continues to be a powerful tool in the hands of skilled communicators.


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