In the speech"I Have a Dream," note King's appeals to pathos, ethos and logos.Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream"

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" is a wonderful example of rhetoric as it contains many devices among which exemplify pathos, ethos, and logos.  Certainly, the very situation and setting of this speech must have evoked emotional feelings in those who stood and listened to this most effective speaker, Dr. King.  For, as King stood before the Lincoln monument, he evoked the history of Lincoln's actions towards effecting the freedom of Negroes by beginning his speech with the words, "Five score years ago," a clear allusion to Lincoln's address at Gettsyburg.  This allusion also establishes the character to Dr. King as he thus aligns himself with Lincoln.  

Here are other examples of the Aristotlian forms of rhetoric:

PATHOS [appeal to emotion]

"We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now."

"Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation..."

Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."

"...the whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the fundations of our nation..." 

"We cannot be satisfied as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating 'For Whites Only...."

"Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells.  Some of you have come from areas..battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality."

PATHOS [appeal to character]

"We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline."

"Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred."

LOGOS [appeal to logic]

"With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.  With this faith, we will....."

"And if America is to be a great nation this must become true."

"And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring...we will be able to speed up that day...."