Robert F. Kennedy's Address in Indianapolis: A Fitting Response in a Kairotic Moment
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This research offers a rhetorical criticism of Robert F. Kennedy’s Address on the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. at Indianapolis on April 4, 1968. It argues that Kennedy made a fitting response at the right moment by relating his own loss of a brother to the audience’s loss. To support this, it utilizes two main rhetorical concepts: kairos, the opportune moment defined by James Kinneavy as right timing and proper measure, and pathos, one of the artistic proofs of Aristotle pertaining to emotional appeals. This research's original contribution to the field is the kairotic analysis done to analyze Kennedy's address. This analysis also hopes to reveal the significance of spontaneity and courage in American culture. Moreover, the address shows that the rhetor can leave lasting impact by responding with a rhetoric of empathy.