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What are examples of a short declamation piece?

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Two examples of short declamation speeches are the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling and the passage from William Shakespeare's play "Macbeth" commonly known as the "Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow" soliloquy. A declamation piece is a recitation delivered as practice by a student of rhetoric or elocution.

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What are examples of a short declamation piece?
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The examples listed above offer many of the elements that a student should look for when choosing a declamation piece. They are varied in tone, build up to a dynamic conclusion and are packed with drama and subtlety of expression.

Kipling's "If" provides a set of conditions and counter conditions that the speaker's son must endure and survive. The speaker sets up these conditions by the repetition of the word "if." But the listener/son does not know the result of meeting these conditions until the last line. As a declamation piece, it offers the speaker an excellent opportunity to practice the building of tension. The use of the second person also enables the speaker to engage the audience.

Macbeth's speech after the death of his wife is also packed with dramatic possibility and a chance for the speaker to experiment with different ranges. The passage begins with regret, settles for a moment into quiet resignation and then explodes into nihilistic anger at the very concept of oblivion.


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