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Great Orators

Sir Winston Churchill and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are often referred to as inspirational speechmakers of the twentieth century.

Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965) was a British statesman and author. He is most famous for his years as Prime Minister from 1940 – 1945 when Britain was fighting the Second World War against Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

Listen: Churchill speeches

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968) was a lecturer, civil rights activist and preacher. His speeches about human worth gave black people hope and a sense of dignity in a time when many white Americans regarded them as inferior citizens.

Listen: I Have a Dream Speech

As you listen to these extracts from famous speeches, try to find examples of the following rhetorical devices that you feel make the speech powerful:

  • Repetition
  • Language of unity
  • Figurative language

Explain the effect these devices have on you, the listener.