Introduction to Speech Writing: The Art of (Ethical)PersuasionThree Crucial Motivational Appeals: Ethos: Establishing credibility; convincing through your character, credentials, or knowledge. Pathos: Appealing to emotions, values, and beliefs. Logos: Appealing to reason or logic.
Martin Luther King Jr. has now been dead longer than he lived. But what an extraordinary life it was. At 33, he was pressing the case of civil rights with President John Kennedy. At 34, he galvanized the nation with his "I Have a Dream" speech. At 35, he won the Nobel Peace Prize. At 39, he was assassinated, but he left a legacy of hope and inspiration that continues today. Kings most famous speech, "I Have a Dream," was delivered in 1963 at the March on Washington, one of the largest political rallies for human rights in United States history; it called for civil and economic rights for African Americans.
Ethos Ethos means the character of the speaker in the eyes of the audience. King was born into a well- educated, successful family, graduated from Morehouse College, and, as the outstanding member of his senior class, from Crozer Theological Seminary. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1955, and served as minister of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church from 1955 to 1968. His Nobel Peace Prize was received one year after this speech was given.
Pathos: King depends on his use of language to draw emotion from his listeners. Figures of speech predominate. Antithesis, or the setting of one clause or other member of a sentence against another to which it is opposed, is heavily used. “It came as a joyous daybreak to end their long night of captivity,” is the first of many examples of antithesis used in the speech. Simile is the comparison of two unlike things, connected with the words “like” or “as” such as “justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Metaphor is a compressed simile (the “like” or “as” is eliminated) and they are abundant: “manacles of segregation,” “symphony of brotherhood.” Allusions, or references to literary, historical, and biblical events, occur often. One obvious example is “Five score years ago,” which refers to the Gettysburg Address.
Personification: the attribution of a personal nature or character to inanimate objects or abstract notions: "Death lays his icy hand on kings” Hyperbole: obvious and intentional exaggeration: “to wait an eternity.” Contrast: To evince a difference that can distinguish meaning: “Voiced and voiceless” Colloquialisms: a word, phrase, or expression characteristic of ordinary or familiar conversation rather than formal speech or writing, as “She‟s out” for “She is not at home.” Repetition: repeated word aimed at stimulating thought on a recurring theme; used to create an auditory stimulus. Anaphora: a poetic device and a repetition device where the same expression is repeated at the beginning of two or more lines, clauses, or sentences. Parallelism: occurs when a writer or speaker expresses ideas of equal worth with the same grammatical form: "Veni, vidi, vici," (I came, I saw, I conquered)
Find examples of Pathos through language use in King‟s Speech Antithesis: the setting of one clause Contrast: To evince a difference that against another to which it is opposed. can distinguish meaning. Simile is the comparison of two unlike Colloquialisms: a word, phrase, or things, connected with the words “like” expression characteristic of ordinary or “as.” or familiar conversation. Metaphor is a compressed simile (the Repetition: repeated word aimed at “like” or “as” is eliminated). stimulating thought on a recurring Allusions: references to literary, theme. historical, and biblical events Anaphora: a repetition device where Personification: the attribution of a the same expression is repeated at personal nature or character to the beginning of two or more lines, inanimate objects or abstract notions. clauses, or sentences. Hyperbole: obvious and intentional Parallelism: a writer or speaker exaggeration. expresses ideas of equal worth with the same grammatical form
Logos: A persuasive strategy of logic In his “I Have a Dream” speech, King used mostly his own personal experience and observations to support his major arguments. His thesis (or purpose) statement is, “Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God‟s children.”
Organizing your Speech A Method in Five Steps!
King followed Monroe‟s motivated sequence. The five steps of the Monroe motivated sequence are attention, need, satisfaction, visualization, and action. In the attention step, speakers call attention to the situation. King, speaking from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, calls attention to Lincoln‟s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, the situation of the Negro today (“One hundred years later, the Negro still is not free.”), and the fact that the words of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence granting all people the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have not been fulfilled. For the need step, speakers describe the difficulty, trouble, distress, crisis, emergency, or urgency. King says, “Instead of honoring this sacred obligation [what the Constitution and Declaration of Independence promise], America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check that has come back marked „insufficient funds.‟” And why have they come to Washington, D.C.? — to “remind America of the fierce urgency of now.”
attention, need, satisfaction, visualization and action. In the satisfaction step, speakers tell listeners how to satisfy the need they establish. King says, “We must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.” To march ahead, he said, “We can never be satisfied.” Then he tells listeners to go back home knowing their situation can and will be changed. For visualization, speakers offer listeners a vision of what life can be once their solution (offered in the satisfaction step) is adopted. This is where King offers listeners his dream: “I have a dream” offered along with five different descriptions of what life can and will be like in Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, in communities, and around the world. The final stage is the action step when speakers offer listeners a specific course of action to follow. King‟s action step occurs when he asks his audience to “Let freedom ring,” and he uses the phrase at the end of the speech focusing on eight states symbolizing the whole nation. Courtesy of Richard L. Weaver II
Homework Find several examples of Pathos through language use in “I Have a Dream. ” Post them. Use the list of strategies to generate several ideas for your own speech. Post a few ideas. Rearrange your essay into a speech format similar to Kings using Monroe‟s motivated sequence. Your essay and your speech should not be exactly the same. The essay will likely be longer.