Martin Luther King Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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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
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Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" (King 4) which evokes an emotional response from the largely black audience, as well as all other individuals who respected freedom. Also aphorisms, such as "Let freedom ring," (King 3) invoked strong feelings in his audience. King's word choice allowed the audience to become more sentimentally attached to the speech. For instance, phrases such as, "we refuse to believe", "our hope", "we can never be satisfied", and "our destiny" (King 1, 2, 3) evokes the emotions that King wanted the audience to have. He convinced his audience to accept his dreams and hopes, as well as agree with his disapproval of current conditions.
In addition to ethos, logos, and pathos, the presentation of "I Have a Dream" adds another element to the speech. When King wants to emphasize a point, and significantly inspire the crowd, he raised his tone of voice and added inflection. Additionally, he periodically raised one or both hands to the sky. He did not rush his speech; rather, he clearly articulated his words and said them in a loud and at a relatively slow-paced speed. He paused in between words, so the audience could fully comprehend each of his thoughts before proceeding. This allowed the audience to react and actually feel the passion in his speaking.
There are several specific rhetorical techniques in addition to aphorisms and diction that King employed in this speech that make it a rhetorical success. One rhetorical device that King used to