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Rhetorical Analysis

Rhetoric Analysis of Martin Luther King’s Speech ‘I have a Dream’ The dramatistic pentad was developed by Kenneth Burke and forms the foundation of dramatism and rhetoric analysis. The pentad requires one to use a metaliguistic approach in analyzing stories in order to carefully investigate the uses and roles of rhetoric elements (Burgchardt, 2010). The five rhetoric elements of act, scene, agent, agency and purpose are common to all narratives and are what forms the dramatistic pentad. Using the pentad, one can evaluate the emphasis that is given by the story teller on each of the five elements and get to understand the motive and the behavior of the characters in the story. One can also get the character’s worldview by analyzing the issues they stress with regard to the five elements of rhetoric. In applying the pentad to analyze King’s speech, one can be able to determine that his world view is that of freedom and equality of all people regardless of their racial backgrounds (Burgchardt, 2010). The speech was issued as the centre of a civil rights movement march to Washington for freedom and jobs. Dr. King had been an ardent supporter of the civil rights movement in America and he used this speech to give the African Americans and other minority racial groups in America hope that they would no longer be discriminated against in the future. The speech was issued on August 28th, 1963 at the Lincoln memorial. The speech can be analyzed using the five elements of the pentad as shown below (Burgchardt, 2010). Act Several civil right movements had organized for a march of freedom in support of the bill that was due for discussion in congress seeking to treat African Americans and other minority races as equal members of the American society. The peaceful demonstration was attended by about 300000 people with African Americans estimated to be about 75-80% of those in attendance (Burgchardt, 2010). There were fascinating speeches from various leaders of the civil rights movement to address the mass but it was Martin Luther’s speech, “I have a Dream” that had a big impact. The other speeches addressed several issues of the civil rights movement at the time but Dr. King’s speech came out as more appealing to the people as it dealt with issues of freedom and equality. The other people who gave their speeches include Wilkins, John Lewis, and Walter Reuther, all of whom were renowned civil rights activists (Burgchardt, 2010). Dr. King’s speech did not only address the equality and freedom issues, but was also looked at as a symbol of optimism that things would get better in future for everybody with regard to equality. Scene The day was colored by powerful speeches from the leaders present, several people who had turned out to support the civil rights movement, among them popular celebrities and singers. This day marked a turning point in the American civil rights movement by bringing together all the Americans to support equality as opposed to divided responses that the calls for equality had received before. The protestors were cheered by several people who were watching from their windows and on television. The police department in Washington had anticipated for violent scenes to occur during the protest and they had prepared for a full police escort (Burgchardt, 2010). Instead, the people maintained peace throughout the marching process. Some media reports had indicated that the turnout would be very small but to the ...Show more

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Rhetoric Analysis of Martin Luther King’s Speech ‘I have a Dream’ Instructor Institution Date Abstract Dr. King’s speech has been hailed as a masterpiece of rhetoric among public speaking and communication scholars, who ranked it as the best public speech of the 20th century…
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