Rhetorical Analysis of The Perils of Indifference

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About this sample


Words: 976 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

Words: 976|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022


People choose to ignore Injustice and tragedies, but Elie Wiesel takes a stand to give a speech pointing out how people just look the other way. Giving a speech to people trying to persuade them to take action against inhumane occurrences can be difficult; Elie Wiesel uses emotional Appeals to gain the audience’s trust and get them to care about these injustices. Elie Wiesel wants people to take action for the good of the people and Humanity. Elie Wiesel giving this speech to an audience of political leaders and people who follow these political leaders. The speech was given in front of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, and other politicians. Wiesel, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and political activist, spoke on his perspective of how people are indifferent and explained how indifference had been affecting the nation. The “Perils of Indifference” successfully used ethos and pathos to inform, persuade and motivate the audience to take action against the injustices.

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Elie uses pathos with his experience of being free from inhumane acts of WWII. By using this memory the audience is feeling sympathetic towards his upbringing and gets their attention. “There was no joy in his heart”. This quote is dignifying that he wouldn’t be the man he was then without the tragedy but that he has gained strength in a way. Elie then goes on to complement Bill Clinton “Commander and Chief of the army that freed me, and tens of thousands of others” and Mrs. Clinton is thanked for her efforts to help (Wiesel)” However, Elie then goes on and puts the government on the spot (so basically calls them out) on their indifference during the time of WWII. By saying, “We believe that Auschwitz and Treblinka were closely guarded secrets…but we learned that….” (Wiesel). Elie is saying that even when the United States found out about the camps they did nothing. Provoking the audience to feel guilty but equal because he uses the word “we”.

Elie Wiesel is declaring that our suffering and our hurt is compared to the indifference we have not objected to. How we choose to ignore the misery of other people just goes to show that the problem of being indifferent will never stop. The horrible injustices Wiesel faced as a child inspired him to not only educate people of indifference but to also show them the dangerous distress and despair of indifference. “Indifference, after all, is more dangerous than anger or hatred.(Wiesel)” This quote is significant to Wiesel using ethos because he is credited by his personal experience due to the fact that he was personal targeted because of hatred and anger. This quote also builds his meaning of indifference because he is using words such as “hatred” to get his audience to feel hurt in a way because no one loves to be a target. Wiesel approached asking rhetorical questions and building up these allusions to make his argument relatable to every individual in his audience, making his speech understandable, reliable, and most importantly he made his speech all around agreeable by putting the audience in his shoes and the shoes of others who have been suffering because of indifference. Elie Wiesel has a history of tragic events. And knowing that his audience is educated on that gives him a form of credibility because it’s his own personal experience.

Many people don’t listen to what others have to say unless they know the person is educated on what they’re speaking about. Elie Wiesel uses words such as “our” to equalize the setting and the audience to him. Wiesel not only knows that by equalizing them will gain his credibility but it will also make them feel sympathetic towards the situation. Throughout his speech by using “our” Wiesel builds a form of trust and a bond with the audience because he acknowledges that everybody makes these mistakes to turn a cold shoulder and even admits that he’s done it his self. His audience must have noticed how cheese equalizes political individuals with others amongst the community. In this speech Wiesel memes for everybody to be level-headed about what’s going on throughout the world regardless if it impacts you personally or me personally he warns people to take action against the wrongdoings and in justices of others. Emotionally he grabs the audience’s attention by throwing out many of the Injustice is going on at the time this speech was given.

Wiesel acknowledges that people know his story but also may have known about one of the many brutalities going on throughout the world. He uses these as examples of what have been overlooked and defining them as injustices. “bloodbath in Cambodia in Nigeria, India and Pakistan, Ireland and Rwanda, Eritrea and Ethiopia, Sarajevo and Kosovo; the inhumanity in the gulag and the tragedy of Hiroshima. And, on a different level, of course, Auschwitz and Treblinka.(Wiesel)” This quote compels the audience to feel guilty or even in a way responsible for not stopping or helping these tragic events. Instead our nation as a whole has been overlooking situations just because we don’t want to get involved. Wiesel not only is successful in this reminder of the tragic events but he also build credibility but being involved in his own life on the tragic events at Auschwitz.

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Wiesel gets his going across by using pathos and ethos to out the problem of indifference. Elie Wiesel does this in many ways in some ways by setting the audience and himself equal, and given his past experience he has credibility even before he begins to speak on the term of indifference. Elie Wiesel wants his audience to take action against the indifference in society and indifference among nations. This speech is open the eyes of others and giving them the knowledge on his view of indifference and his view on how Nations turn heads when tragedies occur.

Works Cited

  1. Clinton, B., Clinton, H., & Holbrooke, R. (1999). Speech by Elie Wiesel: The Perils of Indifference. American Presidency Project.
  2. Cole, J. R. (Ed.). (2004). Elie Wiesel, Jewish, Literary, and Moral Perspectives. Indiana University Press.
  3. Ellenson, D. (2003). Ethical Teachings of Judaism. Reconstructionist Press.
  4. Fine, E. S. (2004). Legacy of Night: The Literary Universe of Elie Wiesel. State University of New York Press.
  5. Horowitz, S. L., & Faur, J. (Eds.). (2013). Elie Wiesel: Jewish, Literary, and Moral Perspectives. Purdue University Press.
  6. Miller, R. (2000). Elie Wiesel: A Challenge to Theology. Westminster John Knox Press.
  7. Neuman, S. (2000). Elie Wiesel: Witness for Life. Taylor Trade Publishing.
  8. Rigney, B. M. (2001). Elie Wiesel and the Art of Storytelling. McFarland.
  9. Rothberg, M. (2005). Traumatic Realism: The Demands of Holocaust Representation. University of Minnesota Press.
  10. Wiesel, E. (1999). After the Darkness: Reflections on the Holocaust. Schocken Books.

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Rhetorical Analysis Of The Perils Of Indifference. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 21, 2024, from
“Rhetorical Analysis Of The Perils Of Indifference.” GradesFixer, 10 Feb. 2022,
Rhetorical Analysis Of The Perils Of Indifference. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Apr. 2024].
Rhetorical Analysis Of The Perils Of Indifference [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Feb 10 [cited 2024 Apr 21]. Available from:
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