I Have a Dream Essay

More than 40 years ago, in August 1963, Martin Luther King electrified America with his momentous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, dramatically delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. He argued passionately and powerfully with the help of language strategies. I believe Martin Luther King’s I have a Dream speech uses effective language. Martin Luther King uses clear and memorable language strategies, figures of speech, and sound devices effectively in his speech, “I Have a Dream. ”

Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream”speech uses clear and memorable language strategies such as repetition and concrete language effectively. Repetition means, “An instance of using a word, phrase, or clause more than once in a short passage. ” King uses repetition very effectively in his speech. An example of how he uses repetition effectively is when King says, “we can never (cannot) be satisfied…… “(53-62). He uses this phrase seven times. He does this so he can connect with his audience.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

Connecting with the audience is one of the key factors when giving a speech. King has accomplished this easily by using repetition in his speech. King also uses concrete language effectively in his speech. Concrete language means, “Language that describes specific, observable things, people, or places, rather than ideas or qualities. ” An example of how King uses concrete language is when King says, “The negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation”(8). Here King uses manacles instead of chains or boundaries of segregation.

He does this so that his audience will have a better idea of what he is talking about. And it is easier to imagine a manacle than a boundary. It’s easier for the audience to relate to the concrete words. it’s interesting and emotionally powerful. That is the reason King uses Concrete language. King uses figures of speech like allusion and personification effectively in his speech, “I Have a Dream. ” Allusion means, “Indirect reference to a well – known person/idea/thing. ” King uses allusion so that it would improve the credibility of his argument.

An example from the speech, where he uses allusion effectively is when king says, “Five score years ago, a great american, in whose shadow we stand today… ” (3-4). Here King uses “Five score years ago” a phrase from Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address speech. It is effective because he reference to the words of a credible speaker in this case, Abraham Lincoln. Another reason why this allusion is effective because King was saying his speech in front of Lincoln Memorial. King also uses personification effectively. Personification means, “Giving human qualities to nonhuman thing or ideas. An example from the speech, where he uses personification effectively is when king says, “Our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: ‘For Whites Only’”(58-59). When he says “stripped of their self-hood” he didn’t literally mean they were stripped but he personified it.

He did this to evoke the emotions of his audience. In the speech, I have a dream king uses sound devices such as alliteration and parallelism effectively. Alliteration means, “ repetition of the same kind of sounds at the beginning of words. King uses alliteration effectively so that it would stand out. And would convey his message more clearly. An example from the speech, where he uses alliteration effectively is when King says, “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation” (3). Symbolic shadow is the alliteration here. When king uses alliteration, it emphasises his main ideas and it helps the audience remember important phrases. It also helps him get the audience’s attention. King also uses parallelism effectively.

Parallelism means, “Similarity of structure in a pair or series of related words, phrases, or clauses. ”An example where he uses it effectively is when King says, “With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. ” Here he follows the pattern “to + verb+ together” it shows that he used parallelism effectively. King uses parallelism so that his words would have a greater impact on people. It also emphasis the idea the sentence is serving.

King’s use of these literary terms helped him to spread his message. King uses many language strategies effectively. This is the reason why his speech was so effective on his audience. King uses clear and memorable language strategies, figures of speech, and sound devices to effectively convey his messages and ideas. Lets all believe that one day we will live in a nation where, everyone is equal like Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. ”