This analysis of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech “I Have a Dream” is based on the rhetorical pentagram model. Here we present a short overview of our analysis of the speech.
We take you through the topics that the speech explores, namely racial discrimination, freedom, and equality. We then discuss the speaker, looking at his background, his role in the Civil Rights Movement, and the image he conveys of himself through the speech.
We continue by looking at the audience – formed by both black and white civil rights activists present at the speech and by the larger audience who saw the speech televised. We also consider which segments of the audience the speaker addresses and why.
We analyze the language used by the speaker, including rhetorical devices like metaphors, repetitions, and forms of appeal. We discuss how these devices relate to the speaker’s intention of promoting equal rights in American society and encouraging the audience to continue the use of peaceful means to further their fight for civil rights and the end of segregation.
Finally, we outline the circumstances of the speech focusing on the March on Washington in the context of the Civil Rights Movement in the US in the 1960s.
Read the full analysis in the following pages.
Do you want additional help with the analysis of speeches? See our general guide to speech analysis: