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In the masterpiece a letter from a Birmingham jail, Martin Luther King connects with the audience through the use of pathos by evoking emotions to pass across his message. The comparison of himself with characters in the bible such as Paul make the audience to have a sense of the grandeur of injustice visited upon him just like upon the ancient apostles (Mcwhorter, 78). In his defense of the higher moral law he compares his cause to Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego who refused to lower their stands even at the pain of death. He goes on tot say that these three and even Jesus were extremists for a right moral cause; the cause of devotion, light and the truth (King, 5).
According to Mcwhorter (217), King evokes feelings of disgust, sadness and sympathy by the description of horrifying events that occurred during peaceful non violent civil rights protests. He speaks of disappointment and disillusionment of the black peoples hopes. By the use of these he evokes anger against the injustice visited upon the Negros that the reader identifies with him. The careful selection of words used by King such as at whim, impunity and at will and airtight cage of poverty evokes the sympathy or even empathy of the reader. To acquire the sympathy of the reader he uses historical illustrations such as the holocaust to prove that the legality of an action does not necessarily make it right. As most people regard the holocaust as horrible most would side with King.
Dr King employs the example of Socrates to evoke empathy in the hearts of the reader by comparing segregation to the condemnation of Socrates for his relentless dedication to his philosophical truths. He also compares himself to Jefferson and Bunyan who were considered extremists for believing in freedom. He quotes the constitution which says that it is self evident that all men are created equal (King, 5). The use of the constitution evokes nationalism in the mind of the reader making King's quest be more than just a racial endeavor. King uses just the right quantity of pathos to make the reader understand the cause of the civil rights movement and support it.