Martin Luther King Jr. once wrote a letter, from a Birmingham jail, addressing a few clergymen on their opinion concerning his motives, throughout the letter King uses rhetoric in order to persuade readers. King uses these rhetoric appeals such as logos, pathos and ethos in order to persuade every person who reads his letter, there are many strong points made by King throughout the letter but some of his strongest moments might have been his referencing of the Bible. Considering that King was a Christian, his reference to biblical figures improves the effectiveness of his arguments; therefore, King is creating an argument based off of something that many people would relate to. By relating to a greater audience one can make a more powerful …show more content…
King references organized religion throughout his letter and considering that the letter was mainly directed towards the clergymen, religion proves to be a continuous theme throughout the letter and may be the cause for one of the strongest arguments in the letter. Part of this argument is seen when King proposes a question on what makes a law just or unjust. King references St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest medieval Christian philosophers and one of the greatest church authorities, when he states, “An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust” (382). King clearly has a clear definition in what he believes is …show more content…
Historical situations are brought up by King such as the crucifixion, by doing this King involves those who believe in God to acknowledge his argument to the full extent. King attempts to arouse sympathy through the use of crucifixion when he states, “We must never forget all three men were crucified for the same crime—the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment” (388). Using this explanation King attempts to target pathos in order to extract sympathy from his audience, by explaining himself as an extremist he attempts to make a comparison of what is happening to him to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Merriam-Webster dictionary states that an extremism is the, “belief in and support for ideas that are very far from what most people consider correct or reasonable” (Extremism) those who believe in extremism are extremist and people today might not agree that Martin Luther King Jr. was an extremist, but during his time everything was much different; therefore, everything King fought for was an extreme during his time, but to us it would not be considered extreme. King later goes on to address the Church as an organization in itself, “So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from
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Martin Luther King, Jr. attempts to persuade clergymen to follow in his civil rights movement through exhibiting his knowledge over just and unjust laws, displaying peaceful behavior, and empathetic diction. King was very knowledgeable about laws and his right as a human. King stated laws in his letter to the clergymen, which displayed his credibility. He did not only state laws, he also stated just and unjust laws. King stated, “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?”
Martin Luther King Jr. was able to transmit the oppression of African American from a jail cell through the “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. With more than 6500 words, Martin Luther King Jr. touched the subject of segregation and injustice of the African American. One cluster that stood out the most was cluster 30, where King was able to explain why the African American was forced to express their birth given right of freedom after endless promises of justice during the Civil Rights Movement. Through the use of Logos, Martin Luther King Jr. was able to connect with the reader by using logic to convince his audience and quoting passages from Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Prophet Amos. Furthermore, by the use of pathos Dr. King was
King has to respond to the clergymen but instead of using logos he uses pathos/ethos to appeal through their emotions. For example in paragraph (39) he has to respond through the statements. “I have heard numerous southern religious leaders admonish their worshipers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, (39)?” Regarding to this statement Dr.King responds with: ‘in deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love.
When he is called an extremist in his views he says “We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime- the crime of extremism.” This is a use of irony on his behalf because he is comparing his extremist views to those who were crucified which is ironic because the clergymen have accused King of this crime even though this supposed crime was the result of crucifying on Calvary’s Hill. When he covers the order sustained by police he says “I doubt that you would have so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its dogs sinking their teeth into unarmed, nonviolent Negroes.” This is the use of a hyperbole because by saying the dogs were sinking their teeth it may not entirely mean every nonviolent negro was being harassed so viciously, but he stresses his point better this way. Extremism and violence add to King’s stressed point he is trying to make and he uses formal as well as cacophonous diction to create this
In King’s letter from Birmingham, he concludes his 50 paragraph letter by using specific rhetorical strategies in order to connect himself to the clergymen to whom he writes by shifting his tone from the disturbed and excited writing in the rest of the letter to one that is calm and composed toward his current situation in jail, and also by using more positive imagery and language. His attitude immediately changes in these closing three paragraphs in an attempt to assure the clergymen that he is reasonable in all his assertions, even asking for forgiveness for any over- or understated claims, apologizing for ever straying from the path of truth and patience, and he also asks “God to forgive [him]” (para. 49). After this last sentence of paragraph
For the love of King From the Prompt “ Birmingham Jail: Lawbreaker” Martin Luther King is using the form of persuasion while continuously informing the Clergyman about the unjust laws that are taking place. The main point that Martin Luther King is trying to express is that the cursory comprehension from people of good will is more rational(irritating) than the pure misunderstanding from people of ill will. The author is attempting to make a valid argument that disobeying an unjust law is more flawlessly moral than just letting ill will happen. King utilizes repetition in his letter, while using techniques such as civil disobedience in his skillful writing. The indistinguishable point similar to the rest of Martin Luther King's ideas is the
(King, 1963). It is noticeable that the consumer of King’s work effects his words, while both works are moving and confident, critical clergymen cause his work to have a stern voice and factual evidence, while hopeful people waiting for inspiration cause his work to be relaxed and more relatable for his audience. The audience in both Dr. Kings letter and speech greatly impact the way he articulates his words and the appeals he
King appeals to his audience with persuasion that was meant to touch the hearts of the readers through pathos. The values and beliefs of the readers are where King directed much of his responses. He began with comparisons of himself to Paul. “I am compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my particular hometown. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.
King’s purpose for using rhetoric is that the world needs change and needs to improve for equality. Claims that a lot of people have faith in the movement like a 72 year old who said one of the most powerful quotes in the letter, “my feet is tired, but my soul is rested.” (King 182). Another powerful quote stated in the letter is, “If I have said anything that is an overstatement of the truth and is indicative of an unreasonable impatience, I beg for forgiveness.” (King 182).
King tried to makes a point that he hopes that the church will see
Martin Luther King Jr. was a strong leader in the Civil Rights movement, the son and grandson of a minister, and one heck of a letter writer. As he sits in a cell of Birmingham Jail in 1963, he responds to criticism from eight white clergymen. Though this letter was intended for the judgemental and condescending men of high faith, his response touched the hearts and minds of the entire U.S. population, then, and for years to come. In his tear-jerking, mind-opening letter, King manages to completely discredit every claim made by the clergymen while keeping a polite and formal tone. Metaphors, allusions, and rhetorical questions are used in the most skillful way to support his argument and ultimately convince his audience of the credibility behind his emotional, yet factual, claims.
King backs this up stating, “We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." ” This statement shows that something being legal or illegal doesn’t make it right or wrong. This can be applied to present day, in the news recently Gay marriage has been a huge debate, and due to a Supreme Court Decision gay marriage is now legal. According to King’s definition of just and unjust laws Gay Marriage would be a unjust law because it isn’t morally right, or follow the law of God.
The use of the historical and biblical allusions/ references being used is to help build a standard ground for his audiences and the clergymen; it also helps make his letter more effective. King 's letter uses biblical allusions to create analogies between
In Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” and “I Have a Dream” speech he uses many different rhetorical devices. He uses rhetorical devices such as repetition, analogy, and rhetorical questions. In each writing, he uses the devices for many different purposes. These purposes can be similar, or different. In short, Martin Luther King Jr. includes rhetorical devices in his writing.
King showed an understanding of his opposers’ arguments and acknowledged their opinions without failing to provide a respectful explanation of his own beliefs and the flaws within theirs. He addressed his opposer’s disapproval of the demonstrations held in Birmingham and undermined these claims by explaining their flaws. “You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations.” (Pg. 7).