The orator of the speech is Martin Luther King, a man trusted, respected, and considered the most renowned civil rights movement leader of America by the audience. King had developed some promising ethos through the speech (Martin Luther King). For instance, Martin Luther stared the speech through reading from his arranged text, and half way ignored this text during the speech to include a theme “I have a dream”. He was enthusiastic and became more confident as he gained trust and reassuring applause from his audiences (Sundquist).
Martin Luther was the most prominent leader of American civil rights movement. He is considered by people throughout the world as a peace maker because of his backing of equal treatment for all races and advocacy for non violence (Sundquist). Past high school, Luther attended Morehouse College under the mentorship of the school’s head-a civil rights leader- Benjamin Mays and graduated later in 1948 with a B A degree in sociology.
In the speech, the anaphora technique is used as one of the rhetorical devices. Repetition of words a number of times sets and emphasizes patterns thereby increasing the rhetorical effect (Arthur S House). King has succeeded in influencing the audience’s actions and beliefs. There is an outstanding emotion in his voice and presumably body as he delivered the speech. He used language and phrases from significant cultural texts for his personal rhetorical purposes. For instance, “I have a dream that one day” The dream symbolizes the future and further sets the stage for the other nations of the words. ‘Dream’ is a vague aspiration in itself and only made specific by the phrase ‘one day’. (Mark Tatham)“This nation will rise up” this is a hint of revolt, and a threat to the whites, that may be frightening although it is tempered by succeeding words. “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” This is direct quote from the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, who is also the author of the declaration of independence. This will be readily accepted as being right by everyone; it adds gravity to the speech. (Arthur S House)The ‘Creed’ has sacred connotations, a proposition that this had not yet come to pass on the day of the speech delivery; nearly one hundred and fifty years after it was said. “Will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood” following the tension of the preceding words, this phrase then becomes reconciliatory. The metaphor, ‘Table of brotherhood’ triggers feelings of comfort.
In his speech, he communicated strongly to white people, perhaps as prime targets. Even as he hinted at rebellion, his expressions were often about, peace, hence offering an idea into which each person could buy (Sundquist). Also, the context of the speech delivery; which is the heart of capital city, at the memorial service of the President who overpowered the Southern states on the slavery issue made it remarkably effective.
The speech was delivered on 23rd August at Abraham Lincoln memorial; this was during the march for freedom and jobs on Washington. Lincoln was the president who overpowered the Southern states on the fight against slavery (Sundquist). King had developed a suitably strong message to unravel the crisis of discrimination in America.
The purpose for this speech was to secure justice and get the treasures of freedom.
The speech audience is United States citizens particularly black people who are the subjects of discrimination and those of their white counterparts who wanted peace, the administration and the president of America (Martin Luther King). One rhetoric device that was used by king is repetition. The obvious illustration being the phrase “I have a dream”. However, there are additional equally vital examples. In the beginning of the speech, he repeated the expression “one hundred years later” to stress the time lapse after liberation declaration issued in the year 1863, yet Afro Americans still had not achieved fairness (Sundquist).
Indeed, this is a very successful and persuasive speech. King delivered the speech at the correct place and time. His vocalization is well-prepared and he became successful in altering people’s perceptive through the speech.
Arthur S House, George W Hughes. “SPEECH ANALYSIS” . New York: Defense Technical Information Center , 1969.
Mark Tatham, Katherine Morton. “Expression in Speech: Analysis and Synthesis” . New York: Oxford University Press , 2006.
Martin Luther King, Jr.” I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World “. Carlifonia: Baker & Taylor, CATS, 2009.
Sundquist, Eric J. “King’s Dream: The Legacy of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech”. New Haven: Yale University Press , 2009.