What Is an Example of a Declamation Piece?


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Examples of declamation speeches include Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address," Winston Churchill's "Their Finest Hour," and Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream." These examples are all classic pieces of oratory that possess the elevated language necessary for the success of a declamatory attempt. A declamation speech, or an oratorical interpretation, is an exercise in the recitation of a historically famous speech to showcase the speaker's talents of oration.

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Declamation speeches are often one part of the high school extracurricular activity of public speaking, often called forensics. Declamatory pieces are memorized and practiced prior to delivery at forensic competitions where judges grade the delivery of the speech. Points are awarded in a number of categories; delivery and eloquence rate highly, as does the original emotional content imparted by the orator. Rather than commit an outright impersonation of the original speaker, orators of a declamatory speech should provide a unique interpretation of the piece.

The Grand National Tournament in Declamation is an annual public-speaking event held by the National Catholic Forensic League. This national competition is open to freshmen and sophomore high school students only. It serves to get students interested in oratory without requiring original speeches. As of 2014, one point of controversy in the Tournament is the use of original speeches from previous competitions in the Declamation category.

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