About the end of the book, there is one of the most important scene of the entire book: Atticus’s speech in the trial. This speech was made in order to defend Tom Robinson, a coloured man, who is charged to have raped Mayella Ewell. Even though Atticus Finch knew since the beginning that the case would be unfair and he would lose it, he did all he could for winning the trial. What was actually opposing to the justice, in Atticus’s point of view, was the immorality of the Maycomb folks: they estimated the colour of the skin more than the individual’s personality.Order now
In his speech Atticus is trying to persuade, to convince the jury that Tom Robinson was not guilty, but “somebody in the courtroom is”. His speech is articulate and it follows some of the rules that are needed to make a ‘persuasive speech’. First of all we can say that the goal of Atticus’s speech is realistic: it is evident by the fact that they are in a court and they are discussing about something that really happened. The second important thing is that in Maycomb everyone knows each other. That’s may be a fortune or a misfortune, but in Atticus’s case it’s a good thing: in that way he had a wide view over his audience/jury, he got to know them every day better after almost 50 years of living, and now he could manage, as a literate and wise man, to identify with his audience and make his audience identify with him.
These two first points are followed by very good evidences. Atticus is defending Tom Robinson as he was his own son: the proofs for Tom’s innocence were good enough if the jury wouldn’t be so attached to “time-honoured code of their society”. Atticus’ defences were well-thought: Mayella Ewell was savagely beaten up by someone left-handed, but the only hand Tom could have used was his right one. Hadn’t him been seen by Mr Ewell, Tom wouldn’t have even touched her. What is unbearable by all the society in Maycomb is Tom’s evidence: it was Mayella that actually kissed him, that jumped on him; but who would ever believe to a nigger’s words? Another thing to highlight in Atticus’s speech is that he’s representing the other side accurately and sympathetically. He’s not blaming them aggressively, by he is trying to open up their mind, to prove that is not that just Negroes lie. Finally he asked the jury, his interested audience, “to review without passion the evidence that you have heard, come to a decision, and restore this man to his family”.”In the name of God, do your duty. In the name of God, believe Tom Robinson.” In these two final sentences he calls upon the jury to take an action, and he shows that he does care about this tiral.
We may finally say that Atticus’s speech seems to be a respected persuasive speech, even though we can’t tell whether he moved/changed the jury’s conservative attitude due to Tom Robinson’s death and the consequently not-given verdict.