The Rhetorical Devices Used In Martin Luther King Jr's Speech

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In 1967 civil right activist and Baptist minister, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his speech, Beyond Vietnam at the Riverside church in New York City. Dr. King not only spoke to America, but the nation and their adversary for which they fought, Vietnam. Martin Luther King Jr discussed the relationship between America and Vietnam and the scars of horrific acts of violence for which America left them. Dr. King also discusses the important meaning of living a non-violent lifestyle. Martin Luther King gave a powerful message to many people and this may have been so by the use of certain Devices. In Dr. Kings speech he uses allusion, ethos, parallel structure, alliteration, rhetorical questions, and metaphors to grab his audience's attention, reflect…show more content…
Dr King states: "We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated" (191-192).This shows, Dr. King uses parallel structure to give emphasize to what he is saying to his audience about Vietnam. The use of parallel structure makes the audience remember the importantance of what Dr.King is telling. Dr.King also uses alliteration to bring focus to what he is saying. Dr.King tells: "It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat" (277-278).In other words, Dr.King uses alliteration to create and certain tone and rhythm for his speech. The use of alliteration brings out the important words and main ideas that Dr.King is…show more content…
Kings speech he also uses many rhetorical questions to emphasize the Vietnam war. Dr. King asks: "Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message-or longing, or hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost?" (448-452). Therefore, Dr. King uses rhetorical questions to emphasize the message he is telling about Vietnam. The device is used to get his audience thinking about the Vietnam war and the questions they should ask themselves. Dr. King also uses metaphors to bring a meaning out of the Vietnam war. Dr.Kings tells: "The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate" (425-427). Furthermore, Dr. King uses metaphors to let the audience look at a new idea by relating it to something in their everyday lives. The use of metaphors helps Dr.King show people his beliefs on a deeper
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