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For ages, people have been trying to persuade one another to earn what they wanted or to create change in their situations, but how does one truly get another to agree with a view or an opinion? In the times of prejudice, discrimination, unfairness, and injustice, there was a black man and a pig preparing a speech. They wondered, ‘What is the strategy to cause a difference, a change in the oppressed lives?’. To push for a better life and to send out a message that would reverberate in the minds of the audience with their speeches, the black man and the pig sought and discovered the key to having a good argument.
The two speeches, “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, Jr. and George Orwell’s “Old Major’s Speech” both use ethos, logos, and pathos to help convey the issue of injustice and the need for change to their audiences.
Initially, in “I Have a Dream” and “Old Major’s Speech” ethos is present to provide a credible introduction that would let the audience know why they should listen to the speakers.
King launches his speech with a prominent figure to establish respect from the audience. He begins with, “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation… But one hundred years later, the Negro is still not free”(King 1). King’s allusion to Abraham Lincoln, who served as president of the United States suggests the audience to respect what he is saying and is going to say.
By mentioning the Emancipation Proclamation that Lincoln signed, King implies that black men are free, but he also says they are not truly free. He uses ethos on a credible figure to make it so that the audience would acknowledge his views on injustice and unfairness. Likewise, Old Major refers to his wisdom from his long life to have his audience trust his words. Before opening with his speech, Old Major declares, “I have had a long life, I have had much time for thought as I lay alone in my stall” (Orwell par.2). It is shown that Old Major states his long life to let the audience know that he is an old and experienced pig. He can influence the audience to hear him out because his age tells them that he has been through many things and has thought about his encounters in his extensive life. Just as King applies Abraham Lincoln’s actions of signing the Emancipation Proclamation in the introduction to speak his mind on being “free”, Old Major announces his long life to set the confident tone of what he is going to talk about. King and Old Major’s bold tone and reliability hold up the foundation of the argument that is to commence. Following the establishment of their authority, the speakers use logic.
Additionally, logos enters the argument of justice and unfairness in forms of analogies and strong reasoning to build towards a logical conclusion. King uses an analogy with metaphors to bring the audience to the need for fairness. He reasons that, ‘When the architects of our republic wrote…the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir…It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned…America has given the Negro people a bad check… And so we have come to cash this check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice'( King 2). King compares the Declaration of Independence to the promissory note that all men are guaranteed the ‘unalienable Rrights’ of ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. His claim about the default of the promissory note is also compared to a bad check. The analogy implies that the blacks’ civil rights are not at work. With this, King concludes that blacks should strive to ‘cash the check’ of freedom and justice. This logic does not restrict to one specific problem, it expands from the default of the promissory note to earning bad checks, thus it helps the audience understand their unjust situation better. Similarly, Old Major organizes the facts and evidence to support his message in the removal of Man. He urges the animals to, ‘Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever. Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is the lord of all the animals’ (Orwell par. 4&5). Old Major reveals that he knows where hunger and overwork truly originate from and that he is tired of man’s rule. He lists the ways of how humans are inferior to animals because they cannot give milk, lay eggs, and are weak. By listing these reasons, Old Major makes the animals question why they have a human as their boss, and he guides the audience to the conclusion that they do not need Man as their leader with facts of criticism.This is similar to how King helped the audience understand that they need to take action to stop receiving the bad checks of unfairness with the comparison between two things to clarify his message. King and Old Major both explain their unpleasant situations and how to stop it with strong reasoning that would not break. After reinforcing their argument, King and Old Major target the audiences’ emotions.
Furthermore, pathos furthers the message on the need for change by creating negative emotions towards the opposition. King uses pathos to open the audidence’s eyes to the big problem of prejudice and discrimination to compel action with strong images and words. King declares, “We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by a sign stating: ‘For Whites Only’”(King 4). His statement invokes displeasure in the audience by showing that African Americans are getting treated unfairly compared to white people. It enforces that even children are being treated with racism and contempt because of their skin color. This implies pathos because it suggests that older generations should want change for generations to come. Correspondingly, Old Major emotionally connects with the animals’ misery instilled by the human race to rise against humans with no doubt. He questions, “And what has happened to that milk which should have been breeding up sturdy calves? Every drop has gone down the throats of our enemies… How many of those eggs ever hatched into chickens? The rest have all gone to the market” (Orwell par.5). By talking about how the animals produce and the humans consume, Old Major stirs up anger against the humans. He uses examples of what the humans took that the animals could have used to multiply and thrive. As Old Major promotes the animals’ desire on the removal of Man by emphasizing their harsh lifestyle, King also uses images of the African Americans being judged on their skin color to let his audience know that the unfair treatment has to end. The decoration of the argument, pathos, brings the audience to a decision and a conclusion that would create change.
Therefore, ethos, logos, and pathos are in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” and in Orwell’s “Old Major’s Speech” to create awareness on the issue of injustice and to induce action for a better life. The speakers grabbed the audience’s attention and respect with their authority, they gave evidence and reasoning to support their claim, and they emphasized sad images of oppression to press for action. This resulted in the animals of Animal Farm to rebel against the selfish humans and the African Americans to do boycotts, protests, and marches to stop racial discrimination. The black man, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the pig, Old Major found the key to the ethos, logos, and pathos and discovered that the art of persuasion is found in the use of rhetorical appeals. Being able to use rhetorical appeals is a life skill that every person needs to communicate effectively and engagingly with their audience and possibly create change for the better in the future.
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