D5 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 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.)

48 responses to “D5 Class 3.2

    • From MLK: “Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rookies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California”.

    • From Martin Luther King Jr.
      “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 Gorgias:

      “In many did she work much desire for her love… bringing together many bodies of men thinking great thoughts for great goals, of whom some had greatness of wealth, some the glory of ancient nobility, some the vigor of personal agility, some command of acquired knowledge.”

    • 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… to blame the praisable and to praise the blamable.”

    • MLK JR.
      ” Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storm.s of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality:”.

    • 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 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”

    • From MLK:

      “I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.”

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

    • From MLK:
      “I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low. The rough places will be made plain, and the crooked Places will be made straight. “

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