Theme Of Pathos In A Letter From Birmingham Jail

803 Words4 Pages
Ethos, Pathos and Logos in “A Letter from Birmingham Jail”
In August 1963, while sitting in Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King wrote a letter responding to the statement of the eight Clergymen. This letter addressed the criticisms of the marches conducted in Alabama. The Clergymen were not thrilled with the direct-action King and the protesters took. During this letter, King fights the battle with a well-mannered, step by step defense. King expertly combines Ethos and Logos to appeal to the Clergymen while using Anaphora, Imagery, Deductive Reasoning.
Martin Luther King’s use of Ethos while writing his response to being called an extremist is concisely paired with Anaphora. Although King did not intend to be an extremist, he evolved into
…show more content…
This imagery places the Clergymen in their own homes, having to explain racism to their children. This also explains that prejudice only breeds more prejudice between all races.
King was also brilliant with his use of Logos to persuade the Clergymen. During his explanation of his willingness to break laws, Dr. King uses Deductive Reasoning to break down what laws really are. Kings presentation on what determines just laws and unjust laws breaks down into what is ethical and what is morally wrong. During this break down King first explains that proper legislation aligns with the word of God and improper legislation veers off the path of morality. King says, “We can never forget that everything Hitler did in German was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was” illegal” it was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany.”. This historical reference compares the prejudice from world war two to the prejudice in America, giving a logical conclusion to the lack of morality in Nazi Germany, and the clear ethical issue in the U.S.
In describing his direct-action King explains the three steps that came before it. Starting out with the collection of the facts, negotiation and self-purification. King states “But the political leaders consistently refused to engage in good-faith negotiation.”
Get Access