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

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"I Have A Dream" is a mesmerizing speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was delivered to the thousands of Americans on August 28, 1963, during the March on Washington. Aimed at the entire nation, King’s main purpose in this speech was to convince his audience to demand racial justice towards the mistreated African Americans and to stand up together for the rights afforded to African American under the Constitution. To further convey this purpose more effectively, King cleverly makes use of the rhetorical devices — ethos, pathos and logos — using figurative language such as metaphors and repetition as well as various other techniques e.g. organization, parallel construction and choice of title. In the preamble, King employs the …show more content…
Furthermore, the speech was targeted towards a variety of audiences and to effectively achieve the target audience, King uses first person plural, “we” on several occasions e.g. “But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt”. By doing so, King is treating his diverse audience as a whole, as if they are one body that must help each other and making everybody feel equal. Plus, not only does this symbolizes brotherhood, but also gives King a reliable reputation. Subsequently, King exercises the strategy of pathos, the emotion appeal. In his statement, "Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all God\'s children". The great use of imagery with the contrast of light vs. dark here definitely draws audience’s attention. Moreover, by making references to the government as a "Bank of Justice" that gave African Americans a "bad check," King describes the situation of the African American people. He proclaims that the "Bank" is not bankrupt and that it was time to "cash the check". These metaphors are easy to understand and are something that the audience can relate to. Another appeal for pathos is King’s repetition and his reference to how African American people have no rights,
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