Rhetorical Devices In I Have A Dream Speech

Good Essays
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. uses different persuasive appeals to target a specific audience. The “I Have a Dream” speech was written to motivate and inspire listeners; to stir up emotions. The “Letter from Birmingham Jail” was written to persuade white clergy to support civil rights. In the “I have a Dream” speech, King uses an upbeat and hopeful tone along with strong, charged language to make his audience, a colossal crowd surrounding the Lincoln Monument, feel stirred into action. The “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, which was written by King in the quiet confines of his jail cell, was meant to change the opinions of well educated clergy members. The two texts were written for the same purpose, but, they have two distinctive intended audiences.…show more content…
He uses strong charged language to get his listeners riled up. In the speech, King uses many rhetorical devices to make the speech stronger. King uses many vibrant analogies in the text to depict freedom and injustice. “In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (King pg 262). This elevates the audience’s understanding of his cause. The strong language used in the speech is very persuasive and makes you feel inspired to make a difference in the world. Another emotionally appealing technique that king uses is repetition. “So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring ...” (King pg 264). When you listen to Kings words, you clearly see his pain, but you also see the intense hope that he has for the civil rights movement. This allows for his words to strike straight to your
Get Access