Rhetorical Analysis of “I Have a Dream” Essay

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln supervised the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation. Although all black slaves were released by this proclamation, regrettably, the injustice towards African Americans was far from over. It wasn’t till the mid 1900’s that African Americans took a stand versus this continuous partition and racism. Amongst all the civil rights leaders that emerged during this time, MLK was perhaps the most influential figure. Under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK), thousands of African Americans, along with a number of other people, marched to Washington D.

C. to witness the speech that many people today consider among the best speeches in history. MLK enters depth laying out the problems with racism as he concurrently conjures up sensation of compassion in the audience.

Moreover, through his usage of different other rhetorical devices, he creates strong sensations of unity amongst audience members to bring them together as one equal group of individuals under God. In persuasion, emotional appeal is among the most powerful gadgets a speaker can utilize.

If a speaker can successfully force audience members to sympathize with him, they will essentially be on his side of the argument. MLK does a sensational task of this in his “I Have a Dream” speech. “Five score years ago, a terrific American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Pronouncement … One hundred years later, the colored American is still languishing in the corners of American society and discovers himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an outrageous condition”.

The “terrific American” MLK was alluding to was Abraham Lincoln; who, as I stated previously, was the main driver behind the Emancipation Proclamation. The syntax of this quote actually highlights the oppression that African Americans are exposed to. Words like exile, suffering, and disgraceful were picked to stimulate compassion in the audience for the preyed on African Americans. Now that he efficiently got sympathy from the audience, he has their attention. His next relocation is to drill into their heads that the need for change impends. The heavy use of anaphoras in MLK’s speech was his best weapon in concerns to making his ideas stick in the heads of audience members.

As seen in the part of the speech, “Now is the time to … make real the promise of democracy … rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation … raise our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice … make justice a reality to all of God’s children”, his repetition of “now is the time to …” stirs up the audience and makes them recognize that there is need for instant actions to be required to battle this oppression. It was no coincidence that MLK chose to describe us as “all of God’s kids”.

Although individuals in the crowd may have varied in skin color, most of people were apart of some sort of faith. By putting everybody in the very same category (i.e. being kids of god) he furthered his point that all males are produced equal. When MLK came to speak at Washington D.C., he didn’t come to propose a compromise, he concerned preach that African Americans will not go for anything less than equality.

Once again, MLK used anaphoras to stress and restate how relentless “we” (the African American population) will remain in the civil rights movement when he said “We can never be pleased as long as … our bodies can not get accommodations in the motels … the colored individuals standard mobility is from a smaller sized ghetto to a larger one … our children are stripped of their selfhood … we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream”. Together with the repetition of “we can never be satisfied”, he utilizes a simile for “justice” and “righteousness” to relay the power of the liberty he dreams to accomplish for the African American people.

Once again, through using anaphoras, MLK describes this dream he intends to attain. In this part of the speech, he reveals the audience a glance of the harmonious future that will come with his dream of equality among all people. He duplicates the phrase “I have a dream” eight times. His voice progressively got louder and more significant as he repeated the phrase. Each time, becoming more powerful than the last. The outcome of this was a sharp increase in enjoyment and emotional arousal in the audience. His addition of equality and brotherhood in “we hold these realities to be self evident that all guys are developed equal … we will be able to take a seat together at the table of brotherhood’ were used to conjure up sensations of unity in the audience.

Unity among the American individuals was not just the imagine MLK, but, along with liberty, was the basis on which America was founded upon. MLK’s repetition of the expression “let liberty ring” served to show the audience that, although America was established on flexibility, it hasn’t yet been truly accomplished. When true freedom is achieved, he said “we will have the ability to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black males and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to sign up with hands and sing …’Free at last, totally free at last.

Thank God Almighty, we are complimentary at last.'”. He successively interest the diversity of the audience by describing the every significant social group and recognizing them all as equal. “. The usage of the diacope “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last” brings his speech full circle. It provided completion outcome of the dream he proposed, and effectively revealed the sensation of relief African Americans will have when they get their flexibility.

In his “I Have a Dream” speech, MLK went in depth determining the issues with racism as he simultaneously conjured up sensation of sympathy in the audience. His usage of various other rhetorical devices generated strong feelings of unity amongst audience members to bring them together as one equal group of individuals.

Although his rhetorical devices were the primary reason behind the success of the speech, the method he structured of the speech is what pushed it above and beyond success, and made it among the greatest speeches in history. MLK lacked a doubt, the most influential leader in the civil rights movement. Without his influence, partition may have still existed even today. Nevertheless, thanks to his phenomenal rhetorical speaking, his “I Have a Dream” speech provided the civil liberties motion the tremendous push it needed to end partition for good.

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