Essay on Martin Luther Kings's "I Have a Dream" speech

Essay by z71guy03High School, 11th gradeA, February 2003

download word file, 8 pages 3.7

MLK Jr. Analysis Essay

Not often does a revolutionary such as Martin Luther King Jr. come along, and whenever one such person does, the earth trembles as their shockwaves of change are felt. King's pressure of reform for equality during the civil rights movements of the 1960's was felt as a predominant force in those times. Until his untimely assassination in 1968, King's main tool in conveying his powerful messages to the masses was through his speeches. His diction and rhetoric was stirring and carried much weight when it was used in conjunction with his many biblical references and language. In his perhaps most famous speech, I Have a Dream, King's opening lines that echo and emulate their originator, President Lincoln, a revolutionary icon and legend in his own time, are the same opening words of conceivably America's other most recognized lecture; the Gettysburg Address. King's mannerisms regarding his public speaking are well-placed literary devices and a rhetoric consisting of recurring and accentuated themes.

In the I Have a Dream speech, King uses a style of repetition, immersion and demolishing of racial barriers, and an imperative tone.

The tone of his speech carries a sense of urgency and imperativeness that can be felt through the obvious and the subliminal. King writes with a style that can be perceived on many echelons of literary meaning. This is obvious in King's fourth paragraph; there is an unspoken sense of pressure to the reader, but to reinforce that delicate oratory skill, he implements the repetition of the word now.

"We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise...