“I Have a Dream” Speech Analysis
Martin Luther King Jr., an activist, delivered his most memorable speech, “I Have a Dream”, in August 28, 1963 to more than 200,000 people. Incredible use of rhetorical appeals, especially ethos, metaphors, and repetition demonstrate the demand for racial equality and outcries of social injustice. Research, knowledge, and personal experience helped Martin Luther King Jr. illustrate his ideas of segregation not being lawful to thousands of people, white and colored, gathered listening to his inspirational speech to the Nation.
King’s use of rhetorical appeals helps him advocate his segregation ideas. Distribution of ethos has an improbable effect on the audience. Therefore, ethos was his dominant rhetoric. Martin Luther King Jr. establishes his good-will and creates his credibility by appealing to ethos. King calls to his audience as “my friends” which sets the mood, expresses his good-will, and establishes a positive connection with the audience. When he quoted words from the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal,” it supported his equality argument for all citizens. He was not only speaking for the African Americans that were before him but, too all other ethnicities that were not present. Very conscious of his audience, and commanding of his wording, King avoids hurting his credibility. In the very last paragraph of the speech, King provokes another example of rhetorical appeal to ethos, “And when this happens- when we allow freedom ring…we will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual.” By making that final statement, King builds up his credibility to another level, evoking ethos.
Phenomenal use of metaphors helps King persuade his audience. King relates segregation to other things through the use of metaphors to help the audience better recognize what racism has done to society. One of the most dominant metaphors used in his speech is the extreme...