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One of the most renowned historical figures in United States history can be described as a self-confident, determined, and intelligent man who became one of the most influential leaders of the civil rights movement. His resolve for those like himself to gain complete freedom in a country that promised with the emancipation proclamation their liberation was unparalleled in the time. His use of repetition, simile, and analogy sent ripples of fear through the hate groups like the KKK and other institutions that thrived off of the racism they fostered. The use of the devices like ethos and pathos further push the speech forward to create an even greater impact on the millions that bore witness to the dialogue.
In summary, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of the struggle and strife the black population in the United States has suffered even though they were meant to be free since the Emancipation Proclamation was signed almost one hundred years earlier. Then, King transitions into the largest and most memorable part of his speech, the part in which the title is derived; I have a dream. King pulls out all the stops when he dares to dream of a future in which all people from all backgrounds and skin colors can coexist peacefully and pleasantly. He dreams of a utopian type future where all are created equal and opportunity is fruitful for all humans. The speech turns to the future to involve his children and how they are the future that can bring about this newfound change and hope. He ends his speech bringing together all religions, all creeds and nationalities, and all of God’s children together as equals on this great Earth.
Martin Luther King Jr. was an activist throughout his mature life who advocated for the advancement of civil liberties, for color people. From a young age, he was active in his community and as he grew he became someone who was of strong moral background and a high member of his church and local hometown. He led famous marches, boycotts, sit-ins, and other forms of peaceful protest to gain traction for his cause. He dedicated his life to his beliefs that all men were created equal in the eyes of God and that the constitution and bill of rights applied to all people who were citizens of the United States. King inevitably gave the ultimate sacrifice for the cause he so believed in; he was assassinated outside his hotel room by a lone sniper. For almost all who were present the day Martin Luther King Jr. gave his compelling and moving speech the emotions and experiences he relayed to the audience were all too real and fresh. Many of their daily lives were affected by these injustices that he was dreaming of a world without. By using words and establishing common ground which was relatable to the audience, they were invited and motivated to see, create, and fight for what seemed like the just and perfect world they longed for. His use of repetition and vivid imagery to pull the audience in and fire them up brought people to their feet and sprung a tear to their eye. Could they, the people who had been oppressed for so long seek the oasis of a world where everyone was judged by how they stood as a person and not the color of their skin? King scatters simile and metaphor throughout his speech to describe to those who had not faced this type of racism and oppression to see how it was for those daily lives that did, and how they were lessened and their quality of life poorer for so many years. By using specific examples and following through with his peaceful protests in the past, the audience can trust his authority and even furthers their trust and allegiance to the spoken ideas and actions. King had a dream the audience had a dream; the king takes hold of the audiences’ heart relating to the things he said. Everyone has had a dream as a kid that may or may not have come true, but it’s the power of hope and determination that can ignite a movement and change the world forever.
King Jr. relays that the time is now for the African Americans suffering and pains must come to an end and that the time that has come for the Negroes of the United States to “Cash their check” on the rights that they were given when the proclamation was signed in 1863 (King). For this dream to be fully realized they must bind together and demand the rights they are lawfully due under the eyes of the constitution. All men are created equal. His key phrases and repetitions keep the audience on his side and the energy high while he charges the audience with his expertly executed rhetoric use of pathos when exclaiming “I have a dream”. By doing this he electrifies them to have their dream, to manifest what they believe as their perfect reality and to weld into their surroundings. This is a form that works, and the intensity of the speech is what rallies those who had observed it and heard it over the radio to get to the action.
Those who have studied MLK Jr. know how intelligent of a man he was. His research of the bible, the Gettysburg Address, and the US declaration of independence can be seen through the allusions he uses in his speech. Many people who were alive in the time the address was given believed it to be one that had a humongous impact on the way people could give vocabulary to the turmoil they experienced. Ranked number eight on Time’s list of top ten speeches ever given due to Martin Luther King Jr. impact on society and the social change was seen as someone noteworthy and trustworthy. A year later he won the Nobel Peace Prize, solidifying the view that his speech truly did accomplish many of its goals in demanding equality and peace among the American people.
All in all, Martin Luther King Jr. was a patriot of his time that pulled back the curtain of racism and gave a voice to those who experienced oppression daily. His speech introduced many of the American public to the emotions and feelings of a side that did not typically have a say in how things were. He successfully brought into the mainstream the ideas of a society that could operate and coexist peacefully and give all those who lived in it a chance to of equality in any facet. The use of rhetoric grabbed the audience persuaded them to believe in the greater pursuit of man, that everyone is created equally in the eyes of God and that we all are in this together.