MLK Jr. Rhetorical Essay
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King Jr. was talking about how people can’t really define a person a person until you understand their motive and what they believe in. King lived in a time where segregation was all over America and people of color did not have the same resources as their fellow white men. King took it upon himself to stand up and fight for his brothers’ right. Even though King experienced pain and rebuke he didn’t falter until his voice was heard. In “Letter from Birmingham Jail” King Jr is addressing the clergymen by saying they don’t know how dire the problem of segregation is and how important it is to fix it. King Jr is sending a message to the clergymen against their judgment to his actions of his non violent protest in Birmingham. He portrays the injustices of segregation through the use of the three types of appeals to pathos, logos, and ethos. The beginning of his letter establishes his important reputation and vast knowledge of biblical references and political leaders.
Martin luther king Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” persuades that his protest methods are justified and should be supported by moral men. He does this by demonstrating his powerful qualifications, making biblical allusions and rationalizing his protests. His purpose is to refute criticism that had been published in order to gain supporters. He writes to an audience of clergymen from Alabama in a serious and dire tone.
Martin Luther King Jr. uses allusions to authority figures that appeal to both ethos and pathos throughout the “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” The biblical figures have a strong impact on the reader since King is a Christians so using biblical figures shows authority. When King explains the difference between unjust and just laws, he mentions St. Aquinas who said that "an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.” Martin Luther believed that these laws concerning segregation are unjust and uses this Christian biblical figure to provide support for his beliefs. In addition, King mentions Paul Tillich who says that separation is a terrible sin. If Tillich says that separation is a sin, we can imply that segregation and discrimination is also a sin. King also said, "Was not Jesus an extremist for love... Was not Amos an extremist for justice...? Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel...? Was not Martin Luther an extremist...And John Bunyan?" By mentioning these authority biblical figures, King appeals to ethos by showing these figures’ morals and the great influence that they had. After appealing to ethos, King arouses sympathy to create a feeling of pathos. He mentions that three of the extremists were crucified for their beliefs to make the clergymen sympathize with him. Then Martin Luther...