When informing Americans across the nation of his dream, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. proposed an unforgettable speech that would one day change The United States of America forever. In analyzing “I Have a Dream”, there are a few rhetorical purposes that are reflected throughout. These purposes are repeatedly focusing in on a particular audience in which King speaks to. Using different types of appeals and literary elements, his speech produced a meaningful purpose that the audience could relate to.
The issue of racism in the mid twentieth century played a huge role in Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Throughout the 1960’s he gradually became a civil rights activist, participating in multiple boycotts and riots against the mistreatment of blacks. When looking back on all of his efforts in civil rights, King’s “I Have a Dream” speech had a serious impact on all types of people as it brought out some sympathy as well as hope in the audience. More importantly, this famous speech was heard during the March on Washington, one of the most famous marches in history. The way African-Americans were treated was expressed with great depression and described with words of aspiration in encouraging equality in the future of America. This motivational speech provided black activists with a clearer vision of racial equality and what the future held for it.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech reflected a few powerful rhetorical purposes with his words of wisdom and encouragement. The first and most obvious purpose of his speech encourages the audience to keep their faith and stay hopeful during the times of discrimination. With his ultimate goal to overcome the present society, King represents this purpose when challenging the people to take a stand against prejudice actions. At first one may interpret these words as being directed specifically towards blacks; however, King is speaking to whites as well as all other races. He also intended to encourage the whites to be willing to make a change within their society, and let the past fade away with the image their ancestors left on the nation. Throughout the seventeen minutes of the speech, both blacks and whites of all generations were influenced by one man’s words. This purpose of the speech is one of the most vital in analyzing it as a whole because the informative and influential aspects are what directly spoke to the audience.
With the people of The United States of America categorized as the audience, King speaks to people of all races and ethnicity. This discriminated audience included the grasping appeals to the ethos, pathos, and logos. As each appeal is fully informed of the rhetorical purpose, King finds a way to encourage all three. Through several metaphors and types of imagery, he makes the decision to speak to all of the appeals in order to accomplish to need for change. Clearly aimed directly at the hearts of blacks and making the whites feel ashamed of...