Pathos, Ethos and Logos in MLK’s Speech ‘I’ve Been to the Mountain Top’

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MLK is one of the most redound speech givers of all time, and this can every much be credited through his usage of rhetoric style and implications made with Pathos, Ethos, and Logos. With the application of these features a speech is strengthened and perusable to its audience. In MLK’s speech “I’ve Been To The Mountain Top” manner of speaking to his audience is exceptional only because of the many points he brings up- which actually contain structure of Pathos, Ethos, and Logos to help sway the argument being made. Almost immediately he starts off by building an emotional tie to his audience – allowing a stronger response from them in turn, as he has established value of their presence and purpose to the cause at hand; “I’m delighted to see each of you here tonight in spite of a storm warning. You reveal that you are determined to go on anyhow.” He then establishes his own credibility as a speaker and leader of this movement in saying: “… But I wouldn’t stop there.

I would go on, even to the great heyday of the Roman Empire. And I would see developments around there, through various emperors and leaders. But I wouldn’t stop there….” Ultimately convincing his audience of his integrity and devotion to any type of cause he becomes involved in (the example he gives is in theory and an example of his real life actions), this acts as Ethos. Next, he ties back in the audience a bit more once again through Pathos (and facet of the speech also involves some Logos), where MLK states “The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; New York City; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; or Memphis, Tennessee — the cry is always the same: “We want to be free.” Freedom, its is a globally desired entity — that at the time the US was struggling with. Ando so it is with logic and personal connection that MLK successfully makes use of rhetoric style in this part of the speech.

Following up on this point Logos is put to use, and MLK provides both reason and action that must be taken in order for the purpose of audience member’s lives to also become drawn in. (MLK does so by stating: “And also in the human rights revolution, if something isn’t done, and done in a hurry, to bring the colored peoples of the world out of their long years of poverty, their long years of hurt and neglect, the whole world is doomed.”). Lastly he ends with making a mark on his purpose he feels god has given him to get to the top of the mountain – Ethos. And follows up by stating that this purpose must now be put to good use, and that this can only be done so if everyone works with each other collaboratively- this ended the speech with a very strong Pathos subject that keeps audience members thinking.


Cite this paper

Pathos, Ethos and Logos in MLK’s Speech ‘I’ve Been to the Mountain Top’. (2023, May 10). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/pathos-ethos-and-logos-in-mlks-speech-ive-been-to-the-mountain-top/

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