A Rhetorical Analysis On Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream”

1319 words - 5 pages

On the epoch of America’s civil-rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave the supreme exemplification of insurgency through a peaceful march of 200,000 people on Washington D.C. (Anson L.). There he delivered the most powerful speeches of all time known as “I Have a Dream”. On August 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, this revolutionary civil rights leader through his stirring speech epitomized an objective for the black inhabitants of the America. His speech had the rationale to move billions of Americans to stand up for the rights of the blacks. The social and racial segregation of that segment of time brought a huge response to the overpowering speech which gave the “black activists a vision for the future” (Anson L.). “I have a dream” is predominantly looked upon for its emotive rhetoric and its illustration of a prospect of brotherhood. This rhetorical analysis will focus on a few major points, such as, the appeals Dr. King uses, which is mostly pathos, to make this speech a persuasive one; the arguments he makes about the unfulfilled American dream of true independence and democracy and the urgency of taking an action against inequality; the stylistic or rhetorical devices brought into play; the relation and affect of the title to the speech.
The most appealing rhetoric in this speech is pathos, used cleverly in the sense of persuading people with an emotional plea. Dr. King, through the use of pathos, tried to make it discernible that his aim was to “make the audience sympathize with the Negroes, dislike racism and then be filled with hope of a new world without racism” (Anson L.). He tries to make an acquaintance with his audience through describing their own dreadful situation. He initiates with an intense report as he says, “One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is sadly crippled by the manacle of segregation and the chains of discrimination.” By this Dr. King illustrates the reflection of Negros being chastised as if they have committed any crime. He connects this condition with the statement, “lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity” which bears a resemblance to being isolated from the rest of the better world (Anson L.). Then he elucidates the hatred towards racism which is the cause of “police brutality” and “storms of persecution”. At the end of the a light of hope rises when with utter power Dr. King speaks aloud “free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.” The statement, “Negro is still crippled by the manacle of segregation and the chains of discrimination” sets up an example of the mental and physical torture the blacks have to go through in times of painful encounters. It strengthens the thought of brutality through hundred years of racism.
Dr. King also provided eloquent ethical and logical appeals. He strokes the morality of the people by speaking about his children and giving an ethical appeal while saying “they will not be judged by the color...

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