In Letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. persuades the critical clergymen by using ethos, logos, and pathos. Dr. King is able to establish himself through liberal use of ethos, and gives himself credibility to add more weight to his arguments of logos and pathos- King uses ethos in his very first statement- “MY DEAR FELLOW CLERGYMEN:” – King establishes himself as a ‘fellow’ clergyman, on equal grounds with his critics.
Dr. King argues that because he is the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which operates in Birmingham, he is not an “outsider”. He claims that he is there because of these organizational ties, and also because of the ‘injustice’ in Birmingham. King goes on to reinforce his stand as a knowledgeable and respectable clergyman by referring to the prophets of old, as well as other biblical figures to back up his claim of injustice in Birmingham and his response to it. He appeals to their religious side, hoping to make them think more highly of him because they see and relate to his biblical analogies.
Throughout the text, King uses expressions of respect toward his critics, creating a sense that they aren’t enemies- in fact, that they’re all clergymen who serve the same role in life. He constantly reaffirms his respect, even going so far as to adding in ‘sir’ when he describes the degenerate treatment which the African Americans were subjected to. King does this in order to establish himself as a respectable clergymen who is only doing what is right in both a biblical, religious sense, as well as an organizational leader who is serving his organization’s best interests.
In Letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. King uses ethos throughout his work to give himself more credibility in the eyes of his critics. He sets himself on a level ground as them- even though he is black, he is still a respectable, even admirable clergyman. He claims his role in life is the same as those who criticize him, and he shows...