I Have a Dream


This study guide will help you analyze the speech “I Have a Dream” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on summary, analysis, topic, speaker, audience, language, modes of persuasion, circumstances, and intention.

Presentation of the speech

Title: “I Have a Dream”
Speaker: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Context: African-American Civil Rights Movement
Date of speech: 28th of August, 1963

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) was an African-American Reverend and one of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. He was an activist for equal rights in American society and advocated for promoting them through non-violent means, civil disobedience, and Christian beliefs. He received the Noble Peace Prize in 1964 for fighting racial inequality through non-violent means. King, also referred to as MLK, was killed in 1968 by a supporter of racial segregation.

You can watch the speech here.


Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 


Antithesis is defined as a contrast or opposition between two images, ideas, concepts, or things.

One example of antithesis from King’s speech is “…the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.”. This antithesis is also a metaphor as it describes the opposition between the poverty and isolation of African Americans and the wealth of the US and white citizens who were enjoying the consumer boom of the 1950s and 1960s.  This combination of antithesis and metaphor is used many times throughout the speech.

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I Have a Dream

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