Essay on Mlk rhetorical analysis

Submitted By sharmaavani
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MLK Rhetorical Analysis In a time where racial equality was not heeded, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a moving speech, famously known as “I Have a Dream”. It was a statement against racial segregation, a plead for equality and an expression of hope for the future. It was an appeal to the American nation to illustrate the injustice done to his people. Dr. MLK’s uses of anaphoric phrases as well as an abundance of emotionally connoted words create strong pathos evoking a sense of pity, in addition to connecting to his audience by explaining his dream of equality being the driving force for a peaceful and happy nation.
Dr. King’s use of anaphora is the most apparent rhetorical strategy and is found throughout the speech. His repetition of words and phrases evoke pity and establish ethos as he connects his goals to the people of America’s goals. His primary establishment of connection is seen with his repetition of the word ‘we’ throughout the speech. Not only does it show the country’s people that they share the same goal, but in different places, it also shows the injustice done to his people as a whole which effectively appeals to the senses of the audience. The repeated use of the words ‘we refuse’ in the 4th paragraph show that by acting together, as one force, there will be a greater reaction to the pleads of the colored people of America. The use of ‘we’ in the first few paragraphs establishes the injustices done, and show the nation the horrors and troubles faced by them which effectively induces sympathy and pity to the listener and/or reader. His most famous phrase “I have a dream”, which is what this moving speech is known for, such as in the sentences “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up….” or “I have a dream deeply rooted in the American Dream….” help Americans realize that every American’s dream is the same, no matter what the race. He shows that without this equality the “blacks” are not getting the opportunity to live out this highly sought after “American Dream”.
In addition to using anaphora to create a sense of togetherness in his speech, Dr. King uses many emotionally connoted words and phrases to further aid his aim of evoking pity in the minds of the audience. As the mood of the speech changes, a clear change in word choice, and tone can be seen as well. At the beginning of the speech, he uses adjectives and phrases such as “momentous”, “great beacon of light”, and “joyous day break” to describe the reactions of the African Americans after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. This creates a jubilant introduction to his speech, however the tone quickly shifts to one of disappointment. By using words such as “sadly”, “lonely”, “languished” and “shameful”, the mood becomes solemn and depressing, which is very effective in his establishing his purpose, to appeal to the racist audiences. As the speech progresses it has a determined, steadfast tone and uses words which are effectual in conveying his message that his words are not to be taken lightly and that him and his people will not stop until they get what they are fighting for. By using words of hope and faith towards the end, he