Rhetorical Analysis Of “I Have A Dream”
More than four decades ago, in a period of time when the American Society was willing to listen, Martin Luther King, Jr. gathered about 200,000 people and held their attention when delivering the famous “I Have a Dream” speech. King, Jr. delivered the speech in August 1963 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
The speech was both effective and motivational for African Americans in the time where they faced innumerous social injustices such as segregation, oppression, and denial of equal opportunities like their white counterparts. Numerous factors affected Martin Luther’s speech positively; the genuine emotions behind King’s carefully worded speech, giving out the speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the President who ended slavery. Besides, the speech was not only carefully worded and reassuring to the African Americans, but also had an underlying message to the white people, hope for an imminent revolution and peace amongst all. So as to stimulate emotions from his crowd of both parties, King used rhetorical devices selectively.
King’s soaring rhetoric in the speech demanded racial justice, and the drive for having a society that was integrated became a mantra for, especially, the black community in America. Martin Luther King’s words in the speech became a touchstone for comprehending the political and social upheaval of that period and presented the whole nation a voice and the vocabulary for expressing the events that were happening in the American society.
Martin Luther’s speech made it clear that the time for rising from the dark and desolate valleys of segregation and discrimination to the well sunlit and radiant paths of racial justice had come. He also underscored the fact that it was the right time to allow free and equal access to opportunities regardless of the skin color. Also, he challenged the perpetrators of racism and discrimination to give racial justice a try and promote the spirit of brotherhood.
Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is irrefutably one of the greatest speeches delivered ever. This is due to the fact that the speech had numerous elements such as repetition, consonance, assonance, ethos, logos, and pathos. The use of repetition is evident in numerous instances throughout the speech. The use of repetition is rather scattered but still close. One of the most notable uses of repetition in the speech is when Luther utters the phrase “I have a dream.” King uses this phrase to particularly indicate the fact that he actually foresees America’s future.
Martin Luther King also delivered the speech effectively, appealing to the emotions of the crowd by stating, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” King also states that, “When will we be satisfied?” These phrases were carefully worded by King so as to specifically appeal to the emotions of his listeners and potentially shift their mentality about the ongoing oppression.
In King’s speech, logos was purposely used to primarily give the speech reason and logic behind the civil rights movement that was beginning to take effect. Martin Luther uses logos in his speech to explain why he had to deliver his speech and why the status quo had to change. By using logos, he clearly shows why things had to change- the black people and other minorities were not given equal treatment like their white counterparts. The minority communities were not free as they should have been.
Luther King’s use of pathos is incredibly effective as he successfully manages to strike the emotional values of all races. His use of the Christian’s Holy Book invokes an emotional response. The use of the Bible in delivering his speech provides the strong belief in what he is saying as the truth and hoping that all the children of God will stand in solidarity and unconditional love.
King’s skillful use of rhetoric in delivering his speech marked a huge pivotal point in the history of America.
In Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, the use of ethos implied how he made his speech sound credible. He even went as far as using the Christian’ Holy Book, The Bible, to make his speech credible. King delivered his speech on the steps of the Abraham Lincolns’ Memorial purposely to provide an ethos appeal and establish credibility with the listeners. This is because Lincoln was a great and powerful leader who relentlessly fought to empower Americans. By delivering the speech at the Lincoln Memorial, King invokes Lincoln’s authority on the fight for civil rights.