I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most famous addresses in US history. This inspiring speech signalled the start of a new era in African history. Things have changed dramatically since the politician spoke to the crowds, yet the battle continues. King, on the other hand, utilized his strong words to refocus the African American fight and convince them to join in their fight against racism and injustice. King’s oratory was strong, and his words inspired and encouraged millions. Below, an ethos, pathos, and logos-focused rhetorical discussion on the mentioned statement will be provided.
Within the scope of appealing to ethos, it should be noted that the first words of the speech may be viewed as a message of peace and a unified front against prejudice. With these remarks, King establishes the context and framework for his speech, as well as his view of the future, which includes freedom, equality, and long-term enjoyment. In his address, King regularly references historical events and the personalities who laid the groundwork for the free United States. His discourse gains an ethical appeal as a result of the above. Moreover, the speech is rich in symbolism, and many of his lines conjure up images of a lovely dream-like society awash in peace and wealth. His mention of the Emancipation Proclamation contributes to the statement’s ethical appeal.
His discourse becomes more dramatic and fascinating as time goes on, and it would be reasonable to turn to the analysis of pathos here. King seeks to make the anguish that resulted from years of negligence obvious. In his words, he expresses his outrage at the way African Americans are compelled to live constrained lives and are prevented from achieving pleasure. When King states that the freedoms and liberties that African Americans have been deprived of are the responsibility of society, the emotional plea or pathos gets even greater. “Seared in the flames of withering injustice” (King Jr. 1), for example, brings to life the agony that black people face on a daily basis. King paints a contrast between two images: the daily realities of African American life and his aspiration.
It should be admitted that King’s appeal to logos is not as frequent as to ethos or pathos in the speech. Still, he makes a solid case for the loss the Black communities are suffering as a result of the US’s failure to keep its promise. He backs up his claims with historical evidence from the United States. If there is a civilized way to end people’s agony, the country is to follow the road of nonviolence. He implies it is already too late when he claims “five score years ago” (King Jr. 1). It signifies that the American authority has performed badly and has failed to demonstrate that the US is a true democracy since the hardship has been exacerbated by the government’s negligence. King tells the gathering that the only way to find a solution is to use lawful and peaceful measures.
To conclude, the above discussion was dedicated to the presence of ethos, logos, and pathos in the speech I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr. It was found that his statements contain a plethora of rhetorical appeals, which contribute to a considerable extent of coherency, consistency, and persuasiveness in King’s words. The way he mixes these appeals serves as a great example of how rhetoric tools result in the statement’s significance.
King Jr., Martin Luther. “I Have a Dream.” The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, 1963, Web.