King's Speech Rhetorical Devices

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When Martin Luther King gave his speech on August 28, 1963, he probably had no idea how truly significant the impact of his words would have on future generations. His first sentence set the stage for what would indeed be “The greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation." Kings uses of poetic and rhetorical devices are quite evident as you listen to his passion for freedom and equality delivered in this historic speech. Repetition is one of the devices used at various times during his speech. “Go back to” and “Let freedom ring” are some examples of frequently repeated phrases. King used repetition of these two phrases as a way to build up and emphasize his point. Another example of repetition is the phrase “I have a dream."…show more content…
King has used this device to validate the statements he is making directly following the quote. Some of the more powerful allusions used during this speech are from Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson, both highly respected white men. “Five score years ago” was written in a way to draw attention to Lincoln. Those words are particularly meaningful because Kings Speech was giving in front of Lincoln memorial. Kings mention of the Emancipation Proclamation was to bring the spectators back to 1865 when Lincoln himself, who was not only morally opposed to slavery, however, was a President who defeated the matter of slavery in the south. In King's second paragraph, he states, “One hundred years later, the Negro still is not free." This was a very big message to not only the Negros but more so to the white people who were holding onto their beliefs of segregation. Another example in the use of allusion within this speech is Thomas Jefferson’s quote “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." King was referring to Jefferson stating that everyone has the right to be free from cruelty and to be treated equally; these ethics are the American
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