People often underestimate the significance of speaking, considering it an innate skill which does not require special efforts to operate successfully. Indeed, rhetoric is one of the most powerful ways to demonstrate people’s thoughts and prove their relevance. It is equally meaningful in both professional and private lives. Thus, being the way of self-expression and the persuasive tool, speaking can be equated to the kind of art which requires operating with numerous rhetorical devices virtuously. The metaphor is one of the central speaking tools. Everyone can see its rhetorical force in persuading the auditory when listening to the Martin Luther King’s speech “I Have a Dream” which becomes the rhetorical achievement of the author’s lifetime because of bright metaphors. Thus, the paper seeks to present the metaphor as a significant rhetorical device and show the way King uses it in his famous speech “I Have a Dream” as in thesis example.
It is worth to start with defining the notion of metaphor to seize its actual role and meaning in speaking. Thus, the metaphor is a result of giving the name to one thing that seemingly belongs to something else. Apparently, to act in such a way speakers should be guided by their imagination that shows them which features of the thing could be borrowed to enhance their words and harmonize them with the final purpose of the speech. Metaphors help create the needed imagery for their word by emphasizing the crucial significance of the qualities they prescribe to the things or phenomena they are talking about. Metaphors play the role of an emotional appeal that transforms the speech from the simple conveying of the data into the communication between the mind and the subconscious of the involved persons.
One can see the force and influence of metaphor when listening to the King’s speech which emphasizes the urgency of the racial equality question in American society. His central metaphor explains the general purpose of the author who strives to “dramatize the shameful condition” of Negro whose rights are violated. King uses such a combination of words in order to assure that it is time to pay attention to the question of segregation and stop take the situation for granted. That is why each of the phrase’s words is endowed with an exaggeration shadow. This core metaphorical claim King enhances with the set of the other alike metaphors which disclose the urgency of the issue. Thus, just in the next paragraph, he argues that it is time to “cash a check”. Further speaker discloses the meaning of this metaphor with mentioning the historical fact and listener can easily conclude that King means that it is time to fulfill the obligations fixed in the Declaration of Independence. Developing the initial metaphor, King emphasizes the inevitability of the consequences using the new metaphor: sweltering summer will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of equality.
The persuasive force of mentioned metaphors is evident. In the first one, Martin Luther King uses categorical vocabulary implying his peremptoriness and urgency of the issue. By means of the second phrase, he tries to address the material mindset of advantaged Americans to whom the speech was turned firstly. Meanwhile, the last metaphor underlines the desirable results through using the imaginary of seasons implying the fact of rebirth.
After all, one can see that King could not reach desirable feedback from the auditory by just asking to obey the law concerning racial equality. His metaphors become the colors that paint the situation with all the emotions from within the hearts of billions of American Negros who strive for changes. The imagery created by the metaphors transforms the ordinary text into a driving force and causes significant shifts in the mindset of both advantaged and disadvantaged auditory.