Martin Luther King: I have a Dream - Essay Example

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In the paper “Martin Luther King : I have a Dream” the author analyzes a public speech which was delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, a civil rights activist and leader. King effectively used the rhetorical triangle known as the ethos, pathos and logos by carefully structuring his speech…
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Martin Luther King: I have a Dream
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Download file to see previous pages It is for this reason that many understand the magnitude many appreciate the clauses, staggered by the winds of police brutality and battered by the storms of persecution as indications of both an African American and a civil rights activist who has weathered the enchanted storms of injustice. Thus, when King likens the collective dereliction on the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence to the issuance of a bad check to the African Americans, he is readily taken as one with the authority to speak on such matters, by virtue of his experience (Washington, 26).  Another way in which King uses ethos to underscore his message is by presenting himself as someone who has vested interests in the matter or subject in question [in this case, social justice]. After having the audience subconsciously identify him as the epitome of the African American [as has already been seen in the second paragraph], he reverts to show the disregard that the political system had shown the Emancipation Proclamation. King argues that when President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation one hundred years earlier, slaves were legally and automatically declared free and therefore, blacks were not to be treated as chattel any longer. Again, in this instance, King uses this part of evidence to underscore the fact that not only he, but also, Lincoln as an authority in the matter and as one of the most highly esteemed and admired men in American history stood for the emancipation of blacks.  In this case therefore, King ingeniously used an ethos appeal through the logos of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
Again, another way in which King used ethos to give the speech maximum effectiveness is his use of impressive logos, to show to the audience that he is highly knowledgeable on the matter. The manner in which King refers to historical facts and milestones such as the Emancipation Proclamation, the US Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, Shakespeare’s Richard III and [indirectly to] the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution underscores King’s use of logos to underscore his ethos. Particularly, the reference to the Emancipation Proclamation and the plight of blacks as the former slaves weighed upon the mind of the audience, the fact that it had been 100 years since the Emancipation Proclamation was passed, yet the state of blacks was unchanged. This means that for hundreds of years, the plight of the African American had been only deteriorating and not ameliorating. In the conscious of the audience, inference was being made to the effect that the adoption of policies and frameworks which would foster racial equality was highly expedient. Similarly, King’s ability to use Biblical scripture to underscore his standpoint also strengthened his use of logos to strengthen his ethos. King’s reference to Amos 5:24, Isaiah 40:4-5 and Psalms 30:5 not only showed how deeply ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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