"I Have a Dream" Rhetorical Analysis

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Words: 617 |

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4 min read

Published: Sep 14, 2018

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Words: 617|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Sep 14, 2018

“I Have a Dream” Rhetorical Analysis Essa
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In his iconic speech delivered on August 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. passionately addressed the pressing issues of segregation, racism, and civil rights in the United States. Known as the "I Have a Dream" speech, this historic oration aimed to inspire change and justice, making it one of the most renowned speeches in history. Themes of freedom, unity, justice, and injustice permeated Dr. King's speech, emphasizing the core values that underpinned the civil rights movement. His use of emotional appeal, or pathos, stirred compassion and determination within his audience, making them feel a shared sense of purpose.

By skillfully weaving together rhetorical devices, pathos, ethos, and logos, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. effectively delivered a message that resonated deeply with his audience. The "I Have a Dream" speech was not just a pivotal moment in American history but also a call to action, inspiring countless individuals to work towards equality and justice for all.

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On August 28,1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a public speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. This speech would go on to be known as the most famous speech in history, the “I Have a Dream” speech. In this speech, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. recited his perspective on segregation at one of the most significant civil rights rally in history. King’s intentions were to let people know that racism must come to an end and African Americans must gain civil and economic rights.

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The speech begins with “Five score years ago” which is quite fitting as he is standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial. King continues informing the audience how 'Negros' still feel imprisoned in modern society, a hundred years after they had been freed from slavery. As if African Americans were never truly freed from their shackles.

Throughout the speech, the same phrases are repeated. Phrases such as 'Now is the time', 'We cannot', 'I have a dream', 'With this faith' and 'Let freedom ring from'. These phrases are being engraved into the audience's brains so that they remember them and overall make the speech more memorable. King wants the audience to retain these elements of the speech as they are the most significant sections. Certain themes are also repeated throughout the speech. Themes such as freedom, unity, a dream, justice, and injustice.

The way King initiated his message through the use of rhetorical devices, pathos, ethos, and logos, allowed his audience to hear and connect with his message sufficiently. The use of pathos in this speech leaves the audience with a sense of compassion and empowerment. This speech is clearly delivered with great passion that allows the audience to feel determined. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. appeals to his audience by using a verse from the book of Isaiah to stress that faithfulness and unity is vital to seek for equality.

Furthermore, he uses his own desire of the American Dream to enable the audience to correlate with his message. Incorporating the American Dream permits his audience to relate to something that everyone longs for and expresses that we all deserve freedom. King’s use of repetition with the phrase “Now is the time…” allows his audience to feel empowered to take action. In this speech, King uses his personal reference of being a father to emphasize that he wants nothing but the best for his children. People who are parents like King, will associate with him as a father and the dreams parents have for their children. When giving such an important speech at such a big event, it is important to be an expert on the topic you are speaking about. Martin Luther King uses ethos in the “I Have a Dream” speech numerous of times to show his knowledgeability and credibility. Throughout the speech, King refers to credible source, Abraham Lincoln. He goes on to declare that he is grateful for the remarkable abolishment of slavery and acknowledges his signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. He also continuously refers to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He states that time and time again they refuse to stand by their promises to the people. Using these references enables his audience to trust and respect what he is delivering to them. Martin Luther King uses logos to persuade his audience to fight for equality. King refers to the Emancipation Proclamation which freed all slaves. However, the Negro is still not free. He proves this with reference of segregation and police brutality towards African Americans.

Another use of logos is when King emphasizes that not all white people are against African Americans. Therefore, they should not be stereotyped because some realize that justice should be for everyone no matter your color and will stand with you to fight against segregation. Throughout the speech King also logically alludes to discrimination and segregation and how nothing will be rectified till it’s been put to an end. The “I Have a Dream” speech was a climax for American history.

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Martin Luther King achieved his goal all with one speech. This speech helped solidify African Americans and white people to stand for equal rights. By King standing up and speaking out for what he believed in, today we are able to be unified. Although he passed away before things were acted upon, with this speech he was able to help save everyone’s freedom and individualism. The usage of rhetorical devices, pathos, ethos and logos, is what made this speech indelible and influential.

Hook Examples for Martin Luther King Essay

  • An Icon’s Words: In the turbulent 1960s, Martin Luther King Jr.’s words echoed through the American conscience, igniting change and inspiring hope. In this essay, we’ll delve into the power of his speeches and the lasting impact of his message.
  • Walking the Path of Justice: Martin Luther King Jr.’s journey for civil rights wasn’t just a historical moment—it was a lifelong commitment. Join us in this essay as we trace the steps of a leader who fearlessly walked the path of justice.
  • From Montgomery to Memphis: The Civil Rights Movement was a defining chapter in American history, and Martin Luther King Jr. was at its forefront. Explore the pivotal moments and sacrifices in the life of a man who became an icon of change.
  • The Dream Lives On: More than five decades after his death, the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. continues to resonate. In this essay, we’ll examine how his legacy shapes the ongoing struggle for equality and justice.
  • A Man of Peace: In a world marked by turmoil, Martin Luther King Jr. stood as a beacon of nonviolent resistance. Join us as we explore the principles of peace and equality that defined the life of this remarkable leader.
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Expert Review
This essay does a good job of explaining Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, and the writer shows some promise as a writer. The essay has a clear structure, with an introduction that provides background information, a body section that analyzes the speech's main points, and a conclusion that summarizes the writer's thoughts on the speech. The essay's focus is primarily on the use of rhetorical devices in the speech, and the writer provides several examples to support their argument. However, there are some areas that need improvement, including the use of repetitive phrases and the lack of varied vocabulary.
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What can be improved
The essay has a clear structure, with an introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction provides background information on the speech, and the body section analyzes the main points of the speech. The conclusion summarizes the writer's thoughts on the speech. However, the essay could benefit from better transitions between paragraphs.The essay's focus is on the use of rhetorical devices in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, and the writer provides several examples to support their argument. The essay could benefit from a more in-depth analysis of the speech's historical context and its impact on the civil rights movement. The essay's sentence structure is generally good, but there are some areas where it could be improved. The writer tends to use simple sentences and repetitive phrases, which can make the writing seem monotonous. There are also some instances where the writer could use more varied vocabulary. The essay has good grammar, with only a few minor errors. The writer's voice is clear and engaging, but the essay could benefit from more varied sentence structure and vocabulary.Overall, the essay provides a good understanding of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech and its use of rhetorical devices. However, the essay could benefit from more varied vocabulary and sentence structure. The writer should also be more aware of the repetitive use of certain phrases.

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“I Have a Dream” Rhetorical Analysis Essa. (2021, October 01). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 13, 2024, from
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