MLK Ethos, Pathos, Logos

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  • Ethos
  • "Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand 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." (King)
  • Pathos
  • "There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one." (King)
  • Logos
  • "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, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." (King)
  • King referencing Abraham Lincoln is an example of ethos because he is referencing a historic figure. This establishes his credibility as a speaker, and appeals to the ethics of the audience, as Lincoln is a respected figure.
  • Ethos
  • King talking about the mistreatment of African Americans is an example of Pathos. He is appealing to the audience's emotions, as they will likely sympathize with them, and work towards change.
  • Pathos
  • "Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked 'insufficient funds.'" (King)
  • King pointing out the lack of logic of blacks not being equal is an example of logos. He points out that the founding fathers said all men should be treated equally, which would logically include black men. This is a factual statement qutoing the founding fatehrs.
  • Logos
  • "But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity." (King) 
  • The way King speaks is an example of Ethos. The passion in his voice shows he has experience speaking, and establishes his credibility.
  • King saying that the government has played a role in this injustice is another example of Pathos. It makes the audience feel sad and sympathetic for his cause.
  • King talking about the lack of change is an example of logos. He is stating the fact that little change has been made in 100 years, and that life is still the same for African Americans.
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