Rhetorical Analysis Of Letter From Birmingham Jail

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In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote Letter from Birmingham Jail that went on to become one of the most controversial and important pieces of work during the Civil Rights Movement. Like many other well written rhetorics, King alludes and uses Aristotle’s three main appeals: logos, pathos, and ethos. How does King uses these appeals in his rhetoric? King effectively uses these appeals to evoke his audience’s emotion to feel remorseful for the extremity that African Americans went through and dealt with. The beginning of King’s speech starts with his address to “[his] fellow clergymen” (1). Throughout and with multiple examples, King attempts to back up his argument with the appeal of logos. One of King’s main arguments in his letter…show more content…
By saying this, King is making the clergymen upset because he knows how important God is to them and they would not want to disrespect him. Another way King attempts to pry his readers emotions open is by using concern. King describes how the Birmingham police are commended by citizens and how he feels when they do so. He states,“ I doubt that you would so quickly commend the policemen if you were to observe their ugly and inhumane treatment…” (King 8). From there, King uses imagery to describe the brutality committed by depicting a graphic scene of how the police dogs attack the “unarmed” and “nonviolent” Negroes that were peacefully protesting their rights. This makes the reader open their eyes and realize that the situation that occurring is serious. King wants to make his reader feel his emotion so they realize that the way African Americans are treated is not humane. King’s effort to establish his credibility is widely recognized within his letter to the clergymen. Using King’s opening, he begins with “My Dear Fellow Clergymen:” (1). By starting his letter this way, King places himself among the clergymen without making himself be better or worse than them. If King had started off his letter differently, his appeal to ethos to prove his credibility might not have been as strong. Shortly after, King brings up the level of his status within a widely affiliated leadership group. King
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