Analysis of “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King, a pastor of a Protestant religious group and a leader of the Civil Rights movement, gave a historic address in Washington during a time when the majority of white Americans were trampling on the civil rights of black people in the United States.
The main goal of his speech, delivered in 1963, was to motivate American citizens. He pushed them to realize the frustrations and disappointments that black people were experiencing as a result of the pervasive racism.
Additionally, he wished to convey a message of challenge to white and black Americans, encouraging them to engage in a meaningful conversation to end racism, which he believed was counterproductive. The well-planned rhetorical speech “I Have a Dream” is a perfect example of appealing to a broad audience’s logos, ethos, and pathos.
The speech is intended for a broad audience. Both whites and blacks are given equal attention. The blacks were expected to learn about their fight for equality and muster the confidence to assert their constitutionally guaranteed rights. The whites were expected to hear the black people’s cries of anguish and stop treating them like second-class citizens.
But it’s important to remember that King gave the speech in the nation’s capital. It could have been an effort to get the attention of lawmakers, decision-makers, and other government representatives who resided and worked in the capital city.
One of the speech’s most crucial rhetorical elements is the style of storytelling. It highlights the creator’s mood changes, personalizes the discourse, and facilitates movements from appealing to ethos and pathos. A narrative style is used in “I Have a Dream.” In certain cases, the speech’s focus shifts to argumentative.
The rhetor shares his convictions. King takes a strong stance against the treatment of black people by white people. The author of the speech emphasizes a few underlying ideas that help the speech to be clear and vivid in the listener’s mind. In his delivery, the author alternates between formal and casual approaches.
The author’s discourse is written with good diction. One cannot ignore the author’s attempt to preach a black gospel throughout the entire discourse. By appealing to the religious sentiments of the Christian audience, which includes both black and white Americans, in the manner they are accustomed to, this approach is selected to persuade them.
King uses language that is suited for both his audience and the situation. Luther quotes from the Bible as a pastor of the Protestant faith movement. The repetitions work well with the gospel’s structure and aid in improving memory.