Marc Antony & Martin Luther King Comparison Contrast

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Anthony Vottima

K. Hewitt

ENG IV: Pd. 4

9 November 2008

The similarities that bind together Marc Antony’s Friends, Romans, and Countrymen speech and Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail are unreal; seemingly orchestrated. King’s letter is written upon a structure of a strong pathological appeal combined with a powerful use of repetition and moving language. Likewise, Antony’s speech demonstrates an emotion appeal with a firm directing address to his audience and a sinewy use of verbal irony. The strong use of pathos, repetition, and a few other various rhetorical devices come together to assert Mark Antony’s funeral speech and Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail as two public addresses of great similarity.

Pathos appeal dominantly takes the upper hand in terms of similarities throughout the two proclamations. For example, both King and Antony open to their audiences with a friendly standing. Antony calls upon “Friends, Romans, [and] Countrymen” (III.ii.75.), and King addresses, “My Dear Fellow Clergymen” (King, Jr.). In doing so, they both associate themselves as one in the general public. The friendly approach, however, doesn’t last long either of the speeches. Shortly into his announcement, Antony breaks his seemingly neutral stance in saying “When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept;” (III.ii.93.). This attributes a vulnerable and human characteristic to Caesar’s personality. On the other hand, King takes upon a much more outright and vivid description in which to do so. He explains his reason to why he cannot “wait” for justice to take play in the unfair separation of whites and blacks is because he has seen “vicious mobs lynch mothers and fathers at will and drown sisters and brothers and whim;” (King, Jr.). Obviously, this would cause quite a stir of emotion to his reader. The use of this compelling strategy helps the composers to build not only sadness in the minds of their audiences, but also...
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