Rhetorical Analysis of Dr. Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream Speech

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On August 28th, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a speech to more than 200,000 people during the March on Washington. King's speech was one of the most influential during the era of the Civil Rights Movement and is to this day recognized as a masterpiece due to its effect on the audience as well as for its eloquence and language. Many components went into this passionate speech that portrayed King's hopes for racial equality and a brighter future made the speech as moving as it was. It is doubtful that any person can guess that this speech was written without forethought regarding what goals King wished to accomplish in this speech. Martin Luther King Jr.'s eloquent language was perfectly suited to his audience, both his …show more content…
By speaking to everyone as `his friends,' King was already pushing the notion that they were all the same. Friends tend to be of the same status and have respect for one another, King showed that although he was black and oppressed, he still was on the same level as, and had respect for his white oppositionists. Also, this same idea is supported by the fact that King chose to write the essay in first person using I and you instead of a formal third person speech. By choosing to speak this way, King puts his issues onto attainable terms and is a technique used to interest his audience and make them aware of the reality that indifference regarding racial segregation is not something that only affects others, but I, you, us, and we.

The audience who heard "I Have a Dream", is exactly the audience that the speech was intended to be spoken to. This is evident in the language and content of the speech. Martin Luther King, Jr. did not only relate to the oppressed African Americans in his speech. He did not bring up the wrongs that had been performed between white and black abolitionists, nor did he ridicule white Americans in any way. By doing this he spoke to everyone hoping for a chance, by making it clear that racial equality was everyone's fight. By not attacking the opponents of his beliefs and dream, King set up a chance to perhaps open up an their minds to views they may not have considered had they been forced to be defensive due to attacks aimed at
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