Analysing three Contrasting Speeches: Martin Luther King, “I have a dream” Bill Clinton, “This has hurt too many innocent people.” and Earl Spencer Essay

In this essay I am going to analyse three contrasting speeches. The first is one of the most famous speeches of all time, Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream”. This speech was delivered on the 28th of August 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D. C. It has gone down in history as one of the greatest demonstrations for freedom, against the merciless environment that black people of America were put in. The second speech is Bill Clinton, “This has hurt to many innocent people”. This speech was heard by over two thirds of America and many others over the world on the 17th of August 1998.

The, then U. S. A President was speaking about his ‘un-appropriate’ relationship with Monica Lewinsky, one that he had denied earlier that year. Many people feared he would be impeached but his blunt, honest, sincere speech won over the American citizens once again. The third speech is Earl Spencer’s “The most hunted woman of the modern age”. This persuasive oratory was presented at Diana’s funeral, in front of millions watching on television, listening on radio and there in person at Westminster Abbey. Many speeches use powerful rhymes in their words to grab the attention of the audience.

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In Martin Luther King’s speech, he uses two words ‘segregation’ and ‘discrimination’. These to words sum-up his feelings, of how hope was given to the Negroes, then snatched away a few years later. Evidently the source of the speech’s power lies in the punctuation and King’s passionate speaking skills, this is backed-up with plenty of emotive language which gives the emotional feeling to the opening. Earl Spencer also uses this technique, as his opening portrays for his sister Diana. His heartfelt words are felt deeply by many, helped by his superlative imagery used at the start of the speech.

Representative of a family in grief, in a country of mourning, before a world in shock. ” He conveys an image of an enormous loss, of a woman who many never met or knew, but on that day they could all feel like they did. It is used so effectively that it is a constant reminder of his astonishing pubic speech. At points the words seem innocent, almost irrelevant due to their simplicity and the various audiences hearing them, this allows many to relate directly to the moral he speaks of, even if it is on different levels of understanding. Bill Clinton’s speech contrasts heavily with the other two.

Where as he others are speaking from their hearts and illuminating their views on deep issues, Clinton is trying desperately to defend himself and win back a morsel of dignity and respect. In his opening he is very specific, maybe so that no one can twist his words to make him look a fool again, “This afternoon in this room, from this chair”. He then tries to get a sympathy vote. He is trying all through this speech to win back supporters, to win back admiration and to maybe win back his job, “I answered their questions truthfully, including questions about my private life, questions no American citizen would ever want to answer.

After this he bluntly states why he is making this speech, many people’s opinions differ, “I must take responsibility for all my actions, both public and private. And that is why I am speaking to you tonight. ” Emotive language can make or break a speech. If well presented the emotive language of a speech can draw in an audience and play on their emotions till they see things the same way the speaker does. That is, of course, the idea of a speech. Earl Spencer’s emotive language can be divided. He emphasis’s Diana’s uniqueness but to target who he believes, to be the cause of her death.

He describes to the world her childhood thus revealing her vulnerability and humanity. “Fought with me at school”. “She was a symbol of selfless humanity. ” Through these words he describes Diana as many things a sister, a figurehead and also how she was not indulged in royal acclaim therefore showing how human she actually was. Earl Spencer shows great bravery in mildly attacking the royal family, “Needed no royal title to continue to generate your own kind of magic”. This extract directly attacks the royal family, he hopes to push them into submission and feel guilt for their actions.

Earl Spencer implies that the royal family mistreated Diana and with the royal family sitting in front of him, it is a pretty bold thing to say. Martin Luther King exceeds in his uses of emotive language and proof of this is clear, as he is affected directly with the issue of freedom. He uses emotive language to link his feelings on hope and injustice for the black Americans. “My children will be judged not by the colour of their skin, but the content of their characters. ” This emotional speech channels years of frustration and peaceful protests into one clear message or beacon of hope.

King stands out to be a light to all black Americans and lead them out of the world they are stuck in. He preaches about equality, which many of them have been discriminated of, most of all though, he speaks from the heart “Soul Force”. This is recurring point made throughout the speech to be what you are on the inside, rather than what you look like on the outside. Clinton, however, uses language that in some ways is politically correct. He uses words to describe his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky such as ‘not appropriate’ and ‘wrong’.

If he wasn’t trying to defend himself and, for instance, someone was prosecuting him for this, much more emotive words could, and probably would have been used. Words such as ‘indecent’ instead of ‘not appropriate’ and ‘erroneous’ instead of ‘wrong’. The use of such plain words suggest this speech was planned in every aspect to make the president gain sympathy but still keeping his private life private. The only emotive language he does use is, once again, used to gain sympathy. He describes himself and his actions with words such as, ’embarrassment’ and ‘failure’.

He then gives the American people a statement that seems innocuous enough at the time but looking deeper is much like a ‘hands off’ warning. He is trying to retain a private life so that he isn’t under complete and constant scrutiny, “Now, this matter is between me, the two people I love most – my wife and our daughter – and our God. ” Earl Spencer portrays a vivid image of Diana by presenting her inner self as, “Childlike. ” This gives an impression of Diana’s morals to be purely innocent and empathetic towards those in need of help.

Others may interpretate that like a child she experiences the dangers of the world and then hid her symptoms of pain from those she loved. He also portrays her to be the most hunted woman of the modern age, ironically as she was named after the great ancient goddess of hunting. Martin Luther King presents his view on justice and the future using simple imagery. “Dark and desolate valley of segregation. ” Speaking to an almost illiterate crowd, King’s use of imagery was important solely for the minds of the masses who couldn’t read what he was saying but they could picture it.

King’s speech provokes the masses to rise up and take hold of their future and do something about it. “Justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a stream. ” The powerful quote conjures up an image of a giant river, clearing everything in its path, completely unstoppable. Bill Clinton gives a valuable insight into the life of a president. He speaks, at times, very wisely, “Even presidents have private lives. ” He then quickly tries to provoke his country back into a state of bliss and guide them away from this worrying issue. It is time to stop the pursuit of personal destruction and the prying into private lives and get on with our national life. ” He then makes it clear that there are more pressing matters to be dealt with and he tries to cover this up as just another affair from another celebrity. Which in fact, is what it is! “We have important work to do, real opportunities to seize, real problems to solve, real security matters to face. ” In reality, Bill Clinton succeeds in absolutely everything he sets out to achieve in this speech.

Earl Spencer, Martin Luther King and Bill Clinton all rely on the use of their individual abilities to persuade. Patterns of three and emotive language are specifically powerful throughout each speech as they coerce the audience to evaluate the circumstances. However, all the speeches have contrasting intentions. Earl Spencer uses his speech to share a nations grief and mourning with the whole world as well as lashing out at certain people and making them feel guilt for their actions.

Martin Luther King is trying to shine as a beacon of hope towards the congregated masses as well as trying to make the government see that if they don’t do something they may well be consequences. Bill Clinton’s speech is used solely to try and state exactly what is going on. He tries to gain sympathy and tries to regain a bit of self-esteem and respect. Throughout each analysed persuasive oratory, the speaker draws the audience into the visions created and therefore achieves the definitive goal, to absorb the listeners and persuade the nation.


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