Rhetorical situation

Table of contents


Robert F. Kennedy delivered his statement on the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968, during his Democratic presidential nomination campaign in Indianapolis. Kennedy received the news of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination a few hours before he was scheduled to deliver his speech, so he is the first one to deliver the news to the audience: “I have bad news for you, for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight”. 

Kennedy comes across as empathetic and shows the audience that he knows what they are going through:

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.

In this example, Kennedy alludes to the assassination of his brother, former President John F. Kennedy, who died in 1962. While ...

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