A Rhetorical Analysis Of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Speech

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Civil rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr, in his speech, “I Have a Dream”, uses imagery, repetition, and similes to persuade the audience to support the civil rights movement and emphasize the importance of freedom to all. His purpose is to convince the audience to participate in the fight against racial discrimination. He adopts a passionate tone to initiate then strengthen his supporters’ beliefs on racial equality. Martin Luther King Jr. utilizes imagery to give the audience a strong picture of the current situation. He begins his speech with mentioning a founding father and the Emancipation Proclamation, stating, “this momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared by the flames of withering injustice.” This statement provides an image of the emotion and physical suffering that slaves went through and to what extent; they looked for hope and were not just hurt but they were “seared by flames.” Continuing, he elaborated on the current day discrimination, “the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.” This furthers the formation of a vivid image, this time it being one of chains holding Negroes down. These examples give a descriptive visual to paint his picture of oppression. Martin Luther King Jr. continues to support his…show more content…
provides similes to give the nation an idea of when they should stop fighting and be “satisfied.” He states “we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters.” The audience can see their freedom flowing around them in great amounts. This boosts morale and increases the willpower to fight. He furthers this in the same sentence by adding “and righteousness like a mighty stream.” The audience can now also see the stream of their freedom gushing by them with great force. These two similes portray a picture greater than plain words could and impact the audience in mass
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