August 28, 1963 was a day that will never be forgotten, in particular not by the citizens of Washington, DC. The city where the great Lincoln memorial gazes across the reflecting pool. Where Lincoln himself, recreated in stone, is looking at the visitors of the city as a president who will never leave his position.
At exactly that day and exactly that spot Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his most famous speech “I Have a Dream”.
Martin Luther King is known for his fight for freedom and his work in Civil Rights.
The purpose of this speech is very clear; to change the American society to a place of equality. The listener of this speech is very much the American population in general however the speech is, as written above, delivered in Washington the capital and the home of the president of the United States. Therefore one could believe that the speech was held at this place to make the politicians react.
The speech contains a lot of Dr. King’s own thoughts and his personal experiences; this does not keep him from speaking very formal though. His language is very academic but colorful so everyone can understand.
The message of the speech is estimated already from the beginning of the speech. In the very first statement Dr. King tells us what he is there to do and what the crowd is there to see: “I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.”(p. 1 ll. 1-2) He estimates the theme: The fight for freedom, so everyone is prepared for what is to come.
The speech opens with a very strong emotional and logical appeal on the listener, which is generally directed toward the Afri...
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...xt: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty we are free at last!” This quote allows him to tell the listener again that he is a part of the people and to bring up an old message. This can even be interpreted a bit ironic when he throughout the entire speech pointed out the lack of freedom among the Afro-Americans.
Overall I can conclude that the speech “I Have a Dream” by the famous Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King is very much loaded with rhetorical techniques. King was with no doubts a very skillful speaker and the language of the speech has contributed to a major change in American history. This speech was an admirable and memorable moment in not only American history but in the history of the world. It had the power to change millions of people and helped the nation to get back on the track.
"I Have a Dream" by Martin Luther King
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