Letter From Birmingham Jail Ethos Pathos Logos

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Philosophers and historians alike have long pondered the concepts of morality, that is the fundamental differences between right and wrong. Although patterns emerge through social folkways, mores, and taboos, there still exists a hypothetical gray area for ethical conduct. In Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 letter, he discusses the criticisms of the clergymen regarding the actions of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) while in Birmingham. Now considered a document that influences freedom movements around the world, King’s letter exemplifies the nonviolent struggle for American Civil Rights.Through his use of logos, ethos, and pathos, King is able to effectively address the concerns of the clergymen and persuade the reader in …show more content…

The former refers the a logical appeal, as a means of convincing the reader through reasoning. In his letter, King uses logos in order to present coherent relationships between two ideas. When explaining the need for nonviolent tension in order to promote change, King refers to Socrates, saying, Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. (King …show more content…

When the audience interprets the author’s character, they place more trust in the author’s words, which is essential to persuading an audience towards the writer’s argument. At the beginning of his letter, King confirms his status as president of the SCLC, adding credibility to his opinion. Throughout the novel, King relies on religious allusion to emphasize the ethical significance of his argument. When introducing himself and his intentions to the clergymen, King writes, “Just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid,” (King 1). In directly comparing himself to the Apostle Paul, King attempts to add to his own reputation and further persuade his audience. Using religiously connotative words, such as “gospel” and “apostle”, and direct mentions of Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul, King appeals to christian members of his audience. In this way, the reader is inclined to adopt the attitudes of King due to their clerical

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