Martin Luther King Rhetorical Use

Topics: Rhetoric, Civil disobedience, Martin Luther King, Jr. Pages: 2 (786 words) Published: November 15, 2010
In the mid 1950’s, racism was at its peak in the southern states. Things were not improving, and someone needed to take a stand to lead the civil rights movement. This man was Martin Luther King Jr. whose tactical method and inspirational vision were strong enough to execute his plan. 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). Without the qualities of ethos, logos and pathos, Martin Luther King would not have been able to lead the movement that he had. He needed the support of many people and the persistence to continue what he started, regardless of the adversity that he faced.

Martin Luther King Jr. displayed the qualities of ethos, logos, and pathos which made him the effective leader that he was. Aristotle defined these three terms as the way to appeal to an audience. In King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, he was able to capture his audience, unite them under one common belief, and persuade them to share the feelings he felt about racial discrimination. Ethos is how people view a speaker before he gives a speech. King took pride in his appearance and always tried to exemplify good values. His personality made it easy for people to relate to him, and therefore support him. Being a priest, people who did not know much about King could easily put their support in him, and trust him from the start. Logos is a person’s ability to write a speech and present a speech to an audience. King had a remarkable way of delivering speeches, and knew how to pause for dramatic effect and engage the audience. He used strong metaphors and repetition to grasp the attention of the spectators and hold it throughout the speech. Near the end of King’s speech, he uses repetition of the phrase “I Have a Dream” to get the...
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