D4 Class 3.2

Feb 11

Oral Eloquence

This assignment makes a start on Unit 2.

For class today we’ll be looking at two famous speeches. The first is Martin Luther King’s speech on the National Mall during the 1963 March on Washington. The second is a rhetorical exercise written by Gorgias, perhaps the most famous rhetorician of Classical Athens.

  1. Watch MLK deliver his speech — or, better, close your eyes and listen. The speech runs about 17 minutes. Don’t take notes, but do pay attention to his words (link to the text of his speech). Immediately afterward, write down as many phrases, metaphors and ideas as you can remember. Bring these scribbles to class.
  2. Read Gorgias’ “Encomium of HelenIf this link doesn’t work, look for Gorgias’ encomium among the readings posted on the Lecture class’s Blackboard site. As you read, think about what it shares in common with King’s famous speech. Try reading one of Gorgias’ paragraphs aloud using King’s slow, sententious style.

In considering similarities and contrasts between these speeches, think about how they sound, how they approach their topics, and (not least) their occasions: what the speakers were trying to accomplish.

For each of the following rhetorical devices, highlight a passage in both speeches (you should have no trouble finding the text of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech online).

Finally post several of the passages you highlighted under the appropriate rhetorical device. (Reload this page before you post, so you can make sure you post a passage that no one else has posted.)

61 responses to “D4 Class 3.2

    • From Gorgias:
      But if it is a disease of human origin and a fault of the soul, it should not be blamed as a sin, but regarded as an affliction.

    • From MLK:

      Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

    • From Gorgias:
      The persuader, like a constrainer, does the wrong and the persuaded, like the constrained, in speech is wrongly charged.

    • Georgias: Some who have seen dreadful things have lost their presence of mind in the present time; thus fear extinguishes and drives out understanding.

    • MLK: “Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.”

    • From MLK: “This momentous decree is a great beacon light of hope for millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice.”

    • MLK:
      No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satis­fied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream

    • MLK:
      Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and the winds of police brutality.

    • from MLK
      ” I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heart of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed in to an oasis of freedom and justice”

    • From Gorgias:

      Man and woman and speech and deed and city and object should be honored with praise if praiseworthy and incur blame if unworthy, for it is an equal error and mistake to blame the praisable and to praise the blamable.

    • MLK: “With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”

    • From MLK: “Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality.”

    • From MLK:
      “Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our modern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.”

    • MLK: So let freedom ring (Yes, Amen) from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. (Uh-huh) Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. (Yes, all right) Let freedom ring (Yes) from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. (Well) Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. (Yes) But not only that: (No) Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. [cheering] (Yeah, Oh yes, Lord) Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. (Yes) Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. (Yes) From every mountainside (Yeah) [sustained applause], let freedom ring.

    • From Gorgias:
      For it is the nature of things, not for the strong to be hindered by the weak, but for the weaker to be ruled and drawn by the stronger,· and for the stronger to lead and the weaker to follow.

    • From MLK:

      I have a dream that one day 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;

    • From MLK:
      One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.

    • From MLK:
      One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.

    • From MLK:
      With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

    • Gorgias: “Man and woman and speech and deed and city and object should be honored with praise if praiseworthy and incur blame if unworthy, for it is an equal terror and mistake to blame the praisable and to praise the blamable.”

    • From Georgias: “And surely it is proper for a woman raped and robbed of her country and deprived of her friends to be pitied rather than pilloried.”

    • From MLK:
      This sweltering summer of the negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality

    • From MLK:
      “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”

    • Gorgias:
      ” But if it was speech which persuaded her
      and deceived her heart, not even to this is it
      difficult to make an answer and to banish blame
      as follows. Speech is a powerful lord, which by
      means of the finest and most invisible body effects the divinest works: it can stop fear and
      banish grief and create joy and nurture pity.”

    • From MLK:
      I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be tranfs­ormed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

    • From MLK
      ” I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”

    • From MLK:
      One hundred years later the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.

    • From MLK:

      “One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.”

    • MLK: I have a dream that one day down in Alabama with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification

    • From MLK:
      We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

    • From Gorgias:
      Thus it is right to refute those who rebuke Helen, a woman about who the testimony of inspired poets has become univocal and unanimous as had the ill omen of her name…

    • Gorgias: The persuader, like a constrainer, does the wrong and the persuaded, like the constrained, in speech is wrongly charged.”

    • From Georgia:
      “But if she was raped by violence and illegally assaulted and unjustly insulted, it is clear that the raper, as the insulter, did the wronging, and the raped, as the insulted, did the suffering.”

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