1) Emphasize Phrases by Repeating at the Beginning of Sentences
Anaphora (repeating words at the beginning of neighbouring clauses) is a commonly used rhetorical device.Repeating the words twice sets the pattern, and further repetitions emphasize the pattern and increase the rhetorical effect.
“I have a dream” is repeated in eight successive sentences, and is one of themost often cited examples of anaphora in modern rhetoric. But this is just one of eight occurrences of anaphora in this speech. By order of introduction, here are the key phrases:
“One hundred yearslater…” [paragraph 3]
“Now is the time…” [paragraph 6]
“We must…” [paragraph 8]
“We can never (cannot) be satisfied…” [paragraph 13]
“Go back to…” [paragraph 14]
“I Have a Dream…” [paragraphs16 through 24]
“With this faith, …” [paragraph 26]
“Let freedom ring (from) …” [paragraphs 27 through 41]
Read those repeated phrases in sequence. Even in the absence of the remainder of thespeech, these key phrases tell much of King’s story. Emphasis through repetition makes these phrases more memorable, and, by extension, make King’s story more memorable.
2) Repeat Key “Theme” WordsThroughout Your Speech
Repetition in forms like anaphora is quite obvious, but there are more subtle ways to use repetition as well. One way is to repeat key “theme” words throughout the body of yourspeech.
If you count the frequency of words used in King’s “I Have a Dream”, very interesting patterns emerge. The most commonly used noun is freedom, which is used twenty times in the speech. Thismakes sense, since freedom is one of the primary themes of the speech.
Other key themes? Consider these commonly repeated words:
freedom (20 times)
we (30 times), our (17 times), you (8 times)nation (10 times), america (5 times), american (4 times)
justice (8 times) and injustice (3 times)
dream (11 times)
“I Have a Dream” can be summarized in the view below, which associates the size...