Martin Luther King Rhetorical Analysis

Topics: Rhetoric, United States, Martin Luther King, Jr. Pages: 4 (1405 words) Published: November 20, 2005
Dreaming About Freedom
Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech is one of the most successful and most legendary speeches in United States history. Martin Luther King Jr. was a masterful speaker, who established a strong command of rhetorical strategies. By his eloquent use of ethos, logos, and pathos, as well as his command of presentation skills and rhetorical devices, King was able to persuade his generation that "the Negro is not free" (King 1). His speech became the rallying cry for civil rights and lives on as an everlasting masterpiece. It is necessary to first understand King's arguments before delving into the actual analysis. King's main argument is that African-Americans are not free or equal according to the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. He argues that African-Americans must claim their full rights and demand liberation from inequality and suppression. King's audience is not only African-Americans, he persuaded all Americans to take action to achieve freedom. He asserts that freedom must be achieved without violence or loss of dignity through Americans joining together in solidarity. Finally, he laid out his dream of a free America rooted in brotherhood among all citizens. Martin Luther King Jr. is able to successfully convey his argument to his audience through ethos. He was an authoritative man, as a Baptist minister, he is seen as a good moral leader. He commanded respect, therefore people were more apt to take his side and accept his speeches as ultimate truths. He is seen as credible because he delivered his speech intelligently. He uses a heightened vocabulary, demonstrated by such words as "manacles," "languished," and "redemptive" (King 1, 2). Not only did he use intelligent vocabulary, he also presents his speech in a logical and professional form. He delivers his beliefs sincerely further aiding his ethos appeal. Martin Luther King Jr. also utilizes ethos because as an American, he can relate to his audience. King also...
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