Essay Sample on Speech Analysis on Martin Luther

Published: 2023-03-14
Essay Sample on Speech Analysis on Martin Luther
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Martin Luther King Personal leadership Communication skills
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 996 words
9 min read

Aristotle referred to logos, ethos, and pathos as the primary modes of persuasion. They are used by authors to build credibility, bring out the audience's feelings. Methods of persuasion are also used to influence the audience to make an action. Aristotle defined the modes of communication by stating (Porter), "Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word, there are three kinds. The first kind depends on the character of the speaker: the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind: the third on the proof or apparent proof provided by the words of the speech itself."

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Authors use ethos to establish their credibility. By building credibility, they assure their audience that they are worth listening to. Ethos is the first mode of persuasion used in speeches or general writing. An author giving a speech must first build or establish ethos. At times, an author doesn't have to build ethos since he/she is viewed as a credible source. For instance, a doctor talking about certain diseases doesn't have to build ethos since he is already a trustworthy source. Such authors will have to inform their audience of their expertise to establish their credibility. Other authors will build ethos by choosing a language that suits the subject they are talking about.

Unlike ethos, which persuades the audience by building character, pathos uses emotional appeal to persuade the audience ("Home - Ethos, Pathos, And Logos, The Modes of Persuasion Explanation and Examples"). Pathos is commonly used to bring out the feeling of sympathy and pity in the audience. It can also be used to make the audience feel angry about the issue being discussed. Authors use pathos to make the audience feel the same way they do about the given topic. Logos, on the other hand, is uses logic or reason to advocate for an issue. Authors use logos by including statistical and historical evidence.Logos is used primarily when the audience are experts on the subject been discussed.

In Martin Luther King's speech, I Have a Dream; he uses all three modes to persuade his audience. Dr. King wrote the speech to convince black folks to continue fighting for their rights but using non-violent means. At the time his speech was written and delivered, black people were fighting for equality and freedom. The speech was delivered on 28th August 1963 at Lincoln Memorial.

Martin Luther uses ethos to build his credibility and to connect with his audience. Being a church minister, he builds his trustworthiness by refereeing to Christian doctrines and principles. He stated (King), "Now it is time to make justice a reality for all God's children." He also uses ethos to connect to all Americans and not only black folks. He uses ethos to share the dream he has that one day, all children will enjoy a world where the color of the skin does not judge them. To express this, he said, "I have a dream that one day my four little children will one day live in a nation where they are not judged by the skin of their color but by the content of their character."

In the speech, I have a dream pathos was commonly used to influence the audience. Martin used both positive and negative emotions in his speech. He mostly uses religious teachings to persuade the black folks to unite and fight for freedom. He states (King), "...hew out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope, with this faith; we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood."King also uses ethos to remind his audience of the hope they had after the Emancipation proclamation. He tells them that 100 years after slavery was abolished, they are still not free. He stated (King), "Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It comes as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity."

Martin King used logos by backing up his claims with facts. Since he was talking about the oppression of African American people, he gave instances of how they were oppressed. Such an example was when he said (King), "I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive."Martin Luther also uses logic to persuade his audience to maintain peace while fighting for their freedom. He advocated for peaceful a peaceful fight by stating (King), "We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protests to degenerate into physical violence." King influenced his audience to use non-violent means to pursue equality and freedom.

By using logos, ethos, and pathos, Martin King was able to unite the African American people to fight for their freedom. He also influenced them to take the high road and adopt peaceful means when advocating for their rights. Martin Luther King's effective use of pathos, ethos, and logos made his speech be remembered as a significant speech in history.

Works Cited

"Home - Ethos, Pathos, and Logos, the Modes of Persuasion Explanation, And Examples." Pathosethoslogos.Com, 2019,

King, Martin. "I Have A Dream," Address Delivered At The March On Washington For Jobs And Freedom." The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, 2019,

Porter, Jeremy. "Know The Three Modes Of Persuasion." Jeremy Porter, 2019,

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