Diction In Martin Luther King's Speech

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To shape the views on societal topics, one would need to consider their choice of diction. It is critical to choose accurate words when trying to convey an important message. Choosing the right words can allow a speaker to be more persuasive, credible, and influential. Failing to do so can disinterest the audience, causing them to reject or discredit views on a topic. One speaker who selects his choice of diction to influence his audience is African-American Civil Rights Movement leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. In his speech, “I Have a Dream,” Dr. King carefully picks his words that best convey his message that no matter the color of your skin, race, or gender, everyone deserves full freedom and equality. For example, Dr. King states that “all…show more content…
When attempting to communicate an important message, it is extremely necessary to have some type of attitude expressed through your words. Conveying the right tone will help draw people in and make the speaker more plausible. If one was to use an aggressive tone, it is possible for people to reject or isolate themselves from certain ideas. Therefore, conveying the right tone will not only draw people in but also have an effect on their perspectives about a specific subject. One speaker who has succeeded in using tone to influence her audience in reconsidering their social views was an advocate for women’s suffrage, Susan B. Anthony. In her speech, “On Women’s Right to Vote," Anthony uses tone to help relay the message that women who are citizens of the United States deserve the right to vote and run for office. This can be seen when she says, “Women are citizens; and no state has a right to make any law, or to enforce any old law, that shall abridge their privileges or immunities” (para. 8). Words like “enforce,” “law,” and “privilege,” help Anthony create a more formal and official tone, making the speech sound more impressive and credible. Her matureness as a speaker makes her argument sound intelligent, which will only sway the standpoints of more listeners and followers, especially those who are not women. Essentially, the authoritative tone is what influences individuals, and although the government’s perspectives were not changed while Anthony was alive, it is still evident that the tone in her speech made everything more convincing and caused the government to reconsider their choices. Dr. King was also a speaker who used tone to successfully influence his audience in rethinking their social views on racial inequality. This is seen when he states, “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of
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