Speech Essay

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h Speech Analysis: I Have a Dream – Martin Luther King Jr. by Andrew Dlugan Jan 18th, 2009 [pic] “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most memorable speeches of all time. It is worthy of lengthy study as we can all learn speechwriting skills from King’s historic masterpiece. This article is the latest in a series of video speech critiques which help you analyze and learn from excellent speeches. Speech Video: Martin Luther King Jr. delivers “I Have a Dream” I encourage you to: 1. Watch the video; 2. Read the analysis in this speech critique; 3. Study the speech text in the complete transcript; and 4. Share your thoughts on this presentation. [pic] Speech Critique – I Have a Dream – Martin Luther King Jr. Much of the greatness of this speech is tied to its historical context, a topic which goes beyond the scope of this article. Instead, I’ll focus on five key lessons in speechwriting that we can extract from Martin Luther King’s most famous speech. 1. Emphasize phrases by repeating at the beginning of sentences 2. Repeat key “theme” words throughout your speech 3. Utilize appropriate quotations or allusions 4. Use specific examples to “ground” your arguments 5. Use metaphors to highlight contrasting concepts Lesson #1: Emphasize Phrases by Repeating at the Beginning of Sentences Anaphora (repeating words at the beginning of neighbouring clauses) is a commonly used rhetorical device. Repeating the words twice sets the pattern, and further repetitions emphasize the pattern and increase the rhetorical effect. “I have a dream” is repeated in eight successive sentences, and is one of the most often cited examples of anaphora in modern rhetoric. But this is just one of eight occurrences of anaphora in this speech. By order of introduction, here are the key phrases: ▪ “One hundred years later…”

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