Ethos In Letter To Birmingham Jail

2005 Words9 Pages
Martin Luther King Jr. Gains Back Credibility Through Ethos Rhetoric is an effective way that many people use to convince an audience of something and eventually move that audience into action. I don’t think that anyone understood this more than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which he demonstrated in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” In the letter he uses ethos, a very effective mode of persuasion, to build his character, mainly his authority, credibility, and goodwill. To build ones credibility means to showcase that person’s morals and values and to demonstrate an all-around good character, which is what I am going to focus on in my analysis. This can be most effectively done by using logical argument, using evidence in ethical ways, as well as addressing counterarguments. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is an example of a rhetorical text that is centered on ethos. King Jr.’s letter is a response to “Public Statement by Eight Alabama Clergymen,” which was written about the civil rights protests that King Jr. had led in Birmingham, Alabama, causing him to be in jail. In his letter, King Jr. addresses the concerns that the clergymen had about his motives and intentions in Birmingham. A rhetorical analysis of “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” shows that through his use of effective logic, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has a way of re-creating the ethos that was taken away from him in “Public Statement by Eight Alabama Clergymen”. Specifically, the arguments that King Jr. uses to defend his untimeliness, his willingness to break laws, and his extreme actions are appropriate for the audience and help him build credibility, which ideally will move his audience to action. In “Public Statement by Eight Alabama Clergymen,” the clergymen state that the action that King Jr. has taken is unwise and untimely and he explains in two different ways why

More about Ethos In Letter To Birmingham Jail

Open Document