Rhetorical Analysis Of Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream Speech

Good Essays
Marin Luther King, Jr., was one of the most influential civil rights leaders in America’s history. Through his ministry he encouraged nonviolent protests in support of desegregation. However, much of the progress made in the civil rights movement would not have been possible if not for white supporters who were able to vote for and introduce legislation in favor of social equality. King understood the need for unity in the civil rights movement and used his opportunity speaking in Washington to obtain it. In Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, legendary “I have a dream speech” his use of allusions, antithesis, and repetition serve to unite the American public. Throughout his speech King alludes to very well-known patriotic symbols, such as the Gettysburg…show more content…
Negative words are typically introduced first and transformed by king into the possible, positive change. Structuring opposite ideas this way, king can inspire his audience to look past the negative present, to the possible future. One of the most powerful examples of this antithesis comes in the form of two metaphors when king compares racial injustice to a “sweltering heat” and freedom to an “oasis.” Not only is very strong language used here, but the ideas are in such stark contrast that Kings can convey the severity of African Americans’ current situation. Another example of antithesis used in “I have a dream” occurs when King refers to the civil rights movement as a beginning, rather than an end. As a result, white audience members will feel more inclined to join the civil rights movement as this quote shows that desegregation will not be the ruin of white society. At first, many whites were reluctant to encourage change, but king assures them it will be only for the betterment of society. By using antithesis king can move his audience from a negative viewpoint, to a more positive
Get Access