I Have A Dream - Speech Analysis Essay Sample

Published: 2022-04-06
I Have A Dream - Speech Analysis Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Literature Martin Luther King
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1432 words
12 min read

Elements of Speech

"I have a dream" is a speech that was delivered by Martin Luther King at the Lincoln Memorial located in Washington D.C. which was related to Lincoln freeing the slaves. In the address; Martin Luther King speaks about the freedom of the Negros. Even though the independence was granted to the nation more than a hundred years ago, it was not yet home. According to the freedom as given, each citizen has equal rights, whether black or white, they are due to share the same rights and privileges, but that is not the case. The Negros, (who are the blacks) continue to suffer painfully at the hands of the white in the United States. Racial segregation is the order of the day; this is from the brutality as posed by the police, and in the public services. The whites are treated as first-class citizens while the blacks come second. They are taken to be the low-class citizens. The Negros are made to be like slaves in the country; theirs is to serve the whites in patience. But this does not please Martin Luther King at all. That is why he has a dream that one day, they will get that dream country of where the equality of all will be a priority for everyone. He not only has a thought in mind, but he also has the plans to go ahead and materialize the dream.

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In every excellent piece of a literature essay or art, there must be styles and elements used to drive the message home. These styles help the audience to understand the message better, at the same time it gives the writer a better way of addressing their messages. Without these elements, speeches would have been annoying, and the words would not at the most time reach the audience in the desired way. The styles are what makes statements or written arts closer to the audience; they can be able to relate to their persona or the speech giver easily. It has also been the case with Martin Luther King. He has used various elements of speech in the "I have a dream." The features he has used helped make his one to reckon with and a great address in the books of history. In this paper, I will discuss to elements that he used in his speech.

Literary Devices Used in the Speech


Repetition is a device used in both literature and poetry. It is the device of repeating the same phrases, words, or sentences to make an idea to be more clear, memorable, and articulate to the audience listening or reading a piece of art. Repetition may also be used to bring rhythm in literature; this is when used at the end of the line or after every sentence. Repetition is also used to show stress and emphasis. When an author wants to stress about something or when he wants to show emphasis on a particular major point in his work, the best element to use is repetition. It is because it will take time after the other capture the mind of the reader or the listener. Even if someone joined in the middle of a speech or if someone went to an overview of some written work, they can be able to tell the focus of the speech if repetition is incorporated.

In the work of Martin Luther King, repetition has some use for a few instances for various purposes. The first instance where he uses repetition is (directly quoted from the speech) "Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children." In this whole segment, Luther has begun his sentences with the phrase, 'now is the time.' The repetition has been used to make emphasis and stress on the time when the Negros wanted to get their independence too. They had made a long wait up until this day.

It was a hundred years gone when the country earned independence as a whole. But it did not apply to everyone. When that happened, and the people were presumed to be free, another form of colonialism came to place, and that was the internal colonialism. It began by where now the whites started to make the Negros their slaves which were against the laws of the constitution and even the social model of conduct. Everyone's right should be equal in a country where colonialism from the foreign has been taken away. But that was not the case in the country, after the colonization period, the Negros became the internal slaves. Martin is against this, and he just cannot cope with this atmosphere of being put under fellow citizens. It is too much to bear with, the time is no longer in the future, nor tomorrow, the time now and the colonialism has to stop. And this has to stay in the mind of the Negros society, and the only way to impact this to them is by use of repetitions.

Repetition has been used in a second instance. "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification. That one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today." As can be noted from the above, the speaker repeats the phrase 'I have a dream' in the beginning of his sentences few number of times. This has made the speech a great one and memorable too. The idea of his vision is real, and he has to materialize it to his people. Luther emphasis on his dream is there to show that this is not just a dream, it is a real one which he has no option but to fight for if that is what it will take for him.


It is a figurative device that is used to represent ideas, actions, and objects in a way that people can quickly capture in their minds. Imagery, when used, create visual objects or situations in our minds which makes one associate more closely with a case in point. Imagery draws the audience and the reader closer to the subject. Imagery turns out to be more than just pictures in mind, it is something complex. On using imagery, there will tend to be more realism in situations; the audience will tend to relate and understand more about the address.

In an example where the speaker uses imagery is when he says; "But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice." The lack of justice put in comparison to bankruptcy in a bank, and this is what they cannot believe is the situation. The agitation for their rights has been figured as an image of cashing in a check, so their fight towards their freedom is compared the cashing a cheque in the bankruptcy going bank.

Imagery has also been used in another point by the speaker where he says; "But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice." He has used this to show his people how the state of justice looks like if they get it. And what would have been better for comparison if not a palace? A palace was the best to be able to impact a fighting spirit for his people. The path which leads to this palace is warm. It is what the Negros are yearning for, and Martin got the perfect way that he would use to incorporate the efforts of the fellows.

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