MLK Ethos Pathos Logos

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  • ETHOS
  • "... all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the 'unalienable Rights' of 'Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.'"
  • LOGOS
  • "... America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked 'insufficient funds.'"
  • INSUFFICIENT FUNDS
  • PATHOS
  • "We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity..."
  • Martin Luther King's allusion to the Declaration of Independence depicts how MLK is a patriotic American citizen who believes in the values of American cultures. Furthermore, his appreciation towards the Declaration of Independence demonstrates his extensive knowledge on U.S. history, and how he can apply his understanding to present day societal issues. This is one of the qualities that makes MLK an amazing leader, and it convinces the audience that MLK is a good person. Ethos is effectively used as a rhetoric in this example.
  • When MLK states that people have all been handed a bad check before, he reasons with the crowd and uses logical information to capture the audience's attention. This form of rhetoric is crucial in order for Martin Luther King to explain how the Negroes were the victims of negative treatment. As a result, MLK effectively builds up atmospheric feeling of tension in the crowd, which then leads up to the climax of his speech.
  • In this example, Martin Luther King uses pathos and appeal to emotion to further increase the support from the audience. By pulling on the crowd's heartstrings, he connects himself to the emotions experienced by the listeners, and effectively gets them to "stop thinking and start feeling." Furthermore, the audience feels empowered to take action NOW, in order to protect their children or their families.
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