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.
- 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.
- Read Gorgias’ “Encomium of Helen” If 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.)