Rhetorical Analysis of Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream Speech

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The famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered by Martin Luther King, Jr. at the historic March in Washington in August 1963 effectively urged the US government to take actions and to finally set up equality between the black and white people in America. Although there were many factors that contributed to the success of the speech, it was primarily King’s masterly use of different rhetorical instruments that encouraged Kennedy and his team to take further steps towards racial equality. King effectively utilizes numerous linguistic devices, such as metaphors, anaphoras, allusions, and provides an abundance of specific examples in his address and this all makes the speech more convincing and memorable. But before we look at these rhetorical …show more content…
King uses phrases like “cash a check”, “promissory note”, “insufficient funds”, “bank of justice”, etc. to develop this metaphor throughout two paragraphs.
“In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”

Anaphoras1 are also vastly used by King in his speech. The
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