Martin Luther King and Patrick Henry: Cry for Freedom Robert Hernandez English 11 Moore-4 October 4, 1996 Although Patrick Henry and Martin Luther King, Jr. are both skilled orators and use similar rhetorical devices to appeal to their audiences, they call for freedom for two totally different kinds of people. Both Patrick Henry and Martin Luther King, Jr. show their strengths as speakers through their use of these rhetorical devices.
Among these are parallelism, allusions, metaphors, and rhetorical questions. Both speakers use these devices well. Martin Luther King, Jr. is infamous for using parallelism when he states, 'Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last!' Martin Luther King, Jr.
also alludes to the Declaration of independence many times in his speech. 'I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of it screed, 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.' These rhetorical devices help Martin Luther King, Jr. keep his audience attentive and highly interested. Patrick Henry uses biblical allusion when he states, 'It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our Country.' Another rhetorical device that Henry uses well is imagery. A good example of Henry's imagery is, 'The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms!' Henry uses these and many more devices to keep the attention and the open mind of his audience who was mostly opposed to his viewpoint. These two speeches were much more different than they are alike.
The main difference between the two speeches, in a general sense was that one calls for a change through violence and war, while the other calls for a peaceful solution. Patrick Henry's speech to the Virginia House of Burgesses calls for a revolution against Great Britain. This must have been a difficult speech for Henry to deliver because he was speaking to a group of people who were opposed to his ideals. They gave the speech pre-revolution and was an attempt to persuade the Virginia delegates to solve the colonies' problems with the British through war.
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech was much different than Henry's. First of all, King was asking for a peaceful solution to the problems between the white Americans and the African- Americans. This speech was also different from Henry's because he was speaking to a crowd that was supportive of what he had to say. They aimed this speech, given on the Lincoln Memorial in the early 1960's, at persuading African-Americans to solve their problems with whites through a peaceful method. Both Patrick Henry and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speeches had their similarities and differences. Among their similarities are that both were good orators.
They displayed this through the good, similar rhetorical devices that they used, and through the way their audience reacted to their speeches. Both men were taking risks by speaking the ways and at the times they did speak. Among the differences between the two speeches are the change that they are causing, and the way in which the change is to be made.