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:
      “Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation through the sun-lit path of racial justice”

    • From MLK:
      “…America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds’.”

    • 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:
      “This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice.”

    • From Marin Luther King Jr.
      “No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

    • From MLK Speech:
      “So we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”

    • From MLK:
      “And that is something that I must say to my people who stand on the worn threshold which leads into the palace of justice.”

    • From MLK JR.

      “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the founda­tions of our nation until the bright days of justice emerge”.

    • 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.”

    • “…whether she did what she did through falling in
      love or persuaded by speech or ravished by force
      or constrained by divine constraint?”

    • 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:
      “100 years later the negro lives on a lonely island of poverty, in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity”

    • 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’s “I Have A Dream” Speech
      “In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds”

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

    • 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 JR.

      “We cannot walk alone. And as we walk we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back”.

    • 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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