Analysis of literary techniques used by Martin Luther King in his March on Washington Adress.

Essay by way2wise4uHigh School, 11th grade January 2004

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Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "March on Washington Address" is a brilliant piece of writing that combines ethos, pathos, and logos in a near-perfect balance to convey a message. The speech is very persuasive, as King uses very strong metaphors and repetition to reinforce his ideas, "In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

King's use of logos, or proof by reasoning is evident in the structure of his speech. The speech begins with the history of America, and the reason for the gathering. King says, ""Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's

lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood." He put everything in perspective with metaphors to emphasize the wrongness of the times and provided evidence. King also employed ethos, or "the persuasive appeal of the speaker's credibility and authority", in his speech. He himself was an African American, and he identified himself with his audience, as he knew what they were experiencing. Finally, the powerful impact of King's speech came from his use of pathos, or "the appeal to emotion, which often overlaps with audience and delivery". The entire speech is extremely passionate, and seems to come directly from King's heart. He approached his audience on the same level as they were on, and with a great level of intensity. For example, when King says, "I have a dream", and goes on...