Martin Luther King Jr’s speech I Have A Dream was performed in 1963 at the march on Washington. In this speech Dr. King would take advantage of pathos. He shows that through the power in his rhetoric he can make a difference. King uses many metaphors as a vehicle to deliver an appeal to the emotions of the audience. His demonstration of pathos helps the audience better embrace the concepts and the purpose of the speech. It also amplifies the struggles of black Americans and he uses this to show the pain of his people because he wants a change to made. Dr. King uses repetition, urgency, and inclusiveness to get his message across.
King’s speech was all for using metaphors in order to appeal to the audiences emotions. He was talking about the Emancipation Proclamation and said This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. He is very descriptive and gives a profound voice to those that don’t have one. With these somber words he can pull the audience in his favor. His words touch you within and bring an energy for change. He wants everyone to be on board with him, but his target audience is black people. Those that feel the same pains and struggles he does because he knows that deep down each and everyone of them had a dream like his, but not everyone can speak it into existence. That is what made him such a good speaker. His rhetoric, influence, and relatability was truly a treasure for America.
Dr. King uses repetition in this speech to further drive the point home. He did this to put a sense of urgency into his audience so that they would act now instead of later. He says things such as I have a dream today and Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. King is calling for action for men and women to express their freedom of speech. In his speech he says now a lot to signify that he wants things changed immediately. Even though the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves, King says … the life of the negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. His speech provides a plethora of metaphors of racism, segregation, injustice and more. All of these constant metaphors are to hammer in the message of his speech. He knew that this would make the audience sad, but it would also make them determined. Determined to put a stop to the injustices that Dr. King proclaims.
He also provided the subject of inclusiveness in his speech. Although his target audience was black people he did not want that to discourage anybody from joining his cause. He wants members of all peoples from all nations to walk hand in hand in harmony. Maybe the most famous line from King’s speech was I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. This resonated with the crowd as it was a sentiment shared among them. He calls for America to live up to the creed We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal. He wants racial harmony and justice. He wants a world where no one is excluded because of their appearance. He really appeals to pathos throughout the entire speech looking back at atrocities and remembering the struggles of their ancestors. It is through this rhetoric that he continuously calls for a change to be made as soon as possible.
It’s worth noting that his target audience is the audience he best appeals too. He relates to black people because they can put themselves in his shoes. When he references oppression and segregation they are the ones who truly understand the harsh realities of being black in America. From this he can guarantee himself an audience of black people. King was also very spiritual in his speech. He was a pastor for Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church from 1954 to 1960 and this showed in his speech. King says …the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This gives king the chance to target a more religious audience. People who are religious don’t judge based upon color and are more likely to accept King’s message. King finds a way to talk about all of the pain and sorrows, but still lead the audience to believe there is hope and freedom is near. Through god King can get his message of equality to nearly every American. This is why his rhetoric was so effective. He shows that even through harsh struggles the glory of god will always prevail. He says With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. King is willing to make sacrifices for his cause and he wants everyone to come together. He shows complete dedication to his cause and leads by example. This makes the audience more likely to believe Dr. King and his ideas. He is most interested in appealing to this type of audience because they are the ones who are going to stand up to racial injustice they will be the ones who fight for equality. If King didn’t rally around these people they wouldn’t have the courage or bravery to stand with the minority.
With this speech Dr. King was able to influence millions of Americans through the power of his rhetoric. On that day in 1963 King’s speech would go down in history as one of the most important moments of the civil rights movement. King’s speech had such an impact that it is still making changes to this day. People find their voice through King’s speech to speak out against equality. King along with the touching words in his speech will never be forgotten because of the impact that they had on America and its peoples.
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