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An analysis of I Have a Dream

  • Word Count: 1216
  • Approx Pages: 5

This famous speech by Martin Luther King, Jr, in 1963 is an example
of structured and impassioned rhetoric that is also carefully designed to
elicit a specific response and to appeal to a wide ranging audience. The
use of language and stylistic devices in the speech serve to enforce the
central massage, which is repeated and built on throughout in different
contexts. The central thrust of the speech lies in the demand for freedom
and equality for African Americans or the ‘Negro' population. This is a
carefully structured and controlled argument that begins with the necessity
to rectify the injustices of the past and then, logically and emotionally,
builds on the legitimacy of this demand. This is enforced by a veiled
threat that the demand for equality is not to be taken lightly; which in
turn is ameliorated by a reassurance that the speech is not a call to
irresponsible actions. Lastly, the speech emphasizes that the issue of
freedom and basic human rights for the Negro is related to the freedom of
all in a harmonious and united society.
Throughout the speech the use of language is concise and controlled
and aimed at evoking specific responses. I will focus on the use of
metaphor that dramatically enforces the central message. The analysis also
focuses on the way in which the speech is constructed to appeal to the
audience's sense of morality and justice and to allay any preconceptions or
fears about radical black empowerment.
The first paragraph encapsulates the intention of the speech, namely
that while the Proclamation of Emancipation is a historical fact it is
still not yet a fact in the daily lives of the Negro people. The immediate
intention is to emphasize the legitimacy of what is to follow and to refute
preconceptions relating to these demands. The sense of justice and
legitimacy is emphasized by the use of historical/Biblical terminology and
style to emphasize the historical ...

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An analysis of I Have a Dream. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:18, November 25, 2015, from