How can I analyze Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech "I Have a Dream" giving emphasis to kairos?What is the significance of King's speech "I have a Dream" in terms of its appropriateness for...

How can I analyze Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech "I Have a Dream" giving emphasis to kairos?

What is the significance of King's speech "I have a Dream" in terms of its appropriateness for the occasion kairotically? I need an answer purely under classical Rhetorical analysis.

"Kairos concerns questions about the timing, fitness, appropriateness, and proportions of a message within an evolving rhetorical  context." In Greek, kairos means "right time" "season" or "opportunity."

 

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would think that if your instructor or course has materials that help define the quality of kairos in speeches, this could be a point of reference with which  you would want to begin in terms of assessing Dr. King's work.  This will help you because I am not sure this can be written by anyone other than you.  I would pay attention to how King builds the speech up from its beginning to its zenith at the end where he repeats and reemphasizes what he defines as "the dream."  He builds the speech up to a crescendo that helps to bring to light "the dream."  It is based in kairos to a large extent because the concept is unclear at the start of his speech, primarily because dreams have to come into focus, into definition.  From the start of the speech, Dr. King uses a sense of kairos, the moment when he wants to expose the dream for what it is so that the audience and the world can see its true essence.  He builds it up throughout so that its revealing at the end of the speech concludes it with a sense that one has undergone a type of change in how one perceives reality, in large part due to the quality of kairos in the speech.