Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears

August 5, 2015 § Leave a comment


Pitted against one another, in Act III scene ii of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, are reason and sentiment; logic and emotion. Brutus’ words rely on the righteousness of his act; of having rid Rome of a tyrant. He refrains from using oratorical skill, opting instead for simpler, plainer language and wishing to appeal to his audience’s reason.

Romans, countrymen, and lovers!
hear me for my cause,and be silent,
that you may hear: believe me
for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour,
that you may believe: censure me in your wisdom, and
awake your senses, that you may be the better judge.

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Martin Luther King Jr.

March 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

MLKJr“In order to be a good writer one has to be a good reader… And of course public speaking is a natural extension of the two.”
—Christopher Hitchens

Couldn’t agree more with Hitch. With that in mind I would be remiss if I didn’t include the words of one of the greatest orators, on my blog. Below is a particularly moving excerpt from MLK’s speech in Oslo in ’64:

“…I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the ”isness” of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal ”oughtness” that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept that man is mere flotsam and jetsam in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him…”

Another testament to Dr. King’s great oratory skills and his unyielding belief in man’s capability to transcend his mere mammalian existence.

Image: “Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mathew Ahmann in a crowd.]” by Rowland Scherman; restored by Adam Cuerden (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [CC0 or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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