D6 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.)

37 responses to “D6 Class 3.2

    • Encomium of Helen: “The effect of speech upon the condition of the soul is comparable to the power of drugs over the nature of bodies. For just as different drugs dispel different secretions from the body, and some bring an end to disease and others to life, so also in the case of speeches, some distress, others delight, some cause fear, others make the hearers bold, and some drug and bewitch the soul with a kind of evil persuasion.”

    • I Have A Dream…: “But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. 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.”

    • I Have a Dream…: “No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satis­fied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

    • I Have A Dream…: “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”

    • “I Have a Dream” – MLK
      “One hun­dred years later the life of the Negro is still badly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination”

    • From MLK:

      for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny.

    • I Have A Dream… : “Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana…”

    • “I Have a Dream” -MLK
      “One hun­dred years later the life of the Negro is still badly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later the Negro lives on a lonely land of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land”

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

    • From MLK:
      “So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
      Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
      Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
      Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that
      Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
      Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
      Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi, From every mountainside let freedom ring.”

    • MLK
      “I have a dream that one day this 11ation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: we hold the~e truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brother­hood. 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 trans­formed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little chi1dren 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. l I have a dream … I have a dream that one day in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boy’s and white girls as sisters and brothers.

    • 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.

    • “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. 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 transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. 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. I have a dream today. 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, one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. 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, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”

    • Encomium of Helen: “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. It is right then for the barbarian who undertook a barbaric undertaking in word and law and deed to meet with blame in word, exclusion in law, and punishment in deed. 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. He did the dread deeds; she suffered them. It is just therefore to pity her but to hate him.”

    • From MLK:
      One day right here in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

    • “I Have a Dream” -MLK
      “This momentous decree is a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. But 100 years later the Negro still is not free”

    • MLK
      “One day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice”

    • From “Encomium of Hellen”:
      “6. For either by will of Fate and decision of
      the gods and vote of Necessity did she do what
      she did, or by force reduced or by words seduced
      (or by love possessed). Now if through the first,
      it is right for the responsible one to be held
      responsible; for god’s predetermination cannot be
      hindered by human premeditation. 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. God is a stronger
      force than man in might and in wit and in other
      ways. If then one must place blame on Fate and
      on a god, one must free Helen from disgrace.
      7. 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.
      It is right then for the barbarian who undertook
      a barbaric undertaking in word and law and deed
      to meet with blame in word, exclusion in law,
      and punishment in deed. 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. He did the dread deeds; she suffered them. It is just therefore to pity her but to
      hate him.”

    • From MLK:

      This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning: My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

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

    • Encomium of Helen: “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.”

    • “I Have a Dream” -MLK
      “Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountain side, let freedom ring”

    • 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.”

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