Logos, ethos, and pathos

Martin Luther King’s speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” combines all three modes of persuasion: ethos, pathos, and logos.  This means that the speaker appeals to trust and authority, emotions, and logic to construct a more compelling case in favor of the protests in Memphis and the Civil Rights Movement. Although he uses all three modes of persuasion, a closer look at the speech reveals that ethos dominates his lang…

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Table of contents

Logos

King appeals to the audience’s reason by using logical arguments, facts, and statistical evidence. For example, to convince the African-American audience of their economic power, the speaker refers to statistics: “…collectively we are richer than all the nations in the world, with the exception of nine.” ; “We have an annual income of more than thirty billion dollars a year, which is more than all of the exports of the United States, and more than the national budget of Canad…

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Pathos

King appeals several times to the audience’s emotions, trying to make his views resonate with the audience at an emotional level.

He achieves this when he mentions the “…thirteen hundred of God's children here suffering, sometimes going hungry, going through dark and dreary nights wondering how this thing is going to come out.”. These images are meant to make the audience feel like an injustice has been committed and they can also help them relate to the workers’ hardships.

King further relies on building an emotional connection with t…

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