Allusion In I Have A Dream Speech

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Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and a leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He delivered his famous “I have a Dream” speech, at the Lincoln Memorial on 28 August 1963 in order to call for an end of racism in the United States. In his speech Martin Luther King Jr. attempted to convince the majority white United States government to give African Americans equal rights through the use of biblical and historical allusions, alliterations, and imagery.

King starts his speech by mentioning “Five score years ago”. This allusion refers to the Gettysburg Address, a speech by Abraham Lincoln, the President of the United States who liberated the African-Americans from slavery. King also mentions the “Emancipation
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Moreover, he uses the word ‘dream’ as an allusion of his hope. He mentions “the American dream” an idea that comes from James Truslow Adams in his book The Epic of America. King by mentioning the American dream uses pathos in order to convince his audience, as he depicts a land with equality as the dreamland.
Moreover, he refers to “black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics”, repeating the idea that no matter the physiological or ideological differences everyone is equal. Hence, he tries to convince the audience that they are all bounded as human beings so everyone should have the same rights.

In addition he says, “every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together”(Isaiah 40:4-5). He again uses a biblical reference to emphasise that he believes that God is capable of making things right. Therefore, it would not only be because of the actions of the Civil Rights protesters that is causing them to ceed their rights but also the will of
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For example he says, “work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together”. Also he mentions “all of God’s children” to show that there is a spiritual equality between people.

At the end of his speech he says, “in the words of the old Negro spiritual, Free at last! Free at last! , Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”. These phrases are a reference to a song from " American Negro Songs " by J. W. Work. He employs this to relate with the emotions of the audience as well as to show his emotions of joy and hope for a possible time of equality.

In conclusion, Martin Luther King Jr. used religious imagery and references in his speech to convince the majority white United States government that black citizens should have the same rights as white US citizens. Martin Luther King Jr. used plenty religious and historical references so that the audience could relate to his ideas causing them to be more susceptible to his

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