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THE GREAT DICTATOR'S SPEECH: CHARLIE CHAPLIN
Transcript of THE GREAT DICTATOR'S SPEECH: CHARLIE CHAPLIN
Born in London, England on April 16th 1889
Both of his parents were actors/singers
His father died when he was 10
Brother of Sydney Chaplin
Made his professional stage debut as a tap dancing member of "The Eight Lancashire Lads"
Came to the United States in 1910 to pursue his career as a Vaudeville comedian
His Major credits include: The Kid (1921), A Woman of Paris (1923), The Gold Rush (1925), The Circus (1928), City Lights (1931), Modern Times (1936), The Great Dictator (1940), Monsieur Verdoux (1947), Limelight (1952), and A King in New York, all of which he wrote himself.
He wrote four books: My Trip Abroad, A Comedian Sees the World, My Autobiography, and My Life in Pictures.
He was also a skilled musician and composer, composing all of the soundtracks to his films.
He had 9 children from four different marriages, his last marriage being to Oona O'Neill.
He died on Christmas Day 1977, at the age of 88.
Historical and Literary Context:
This speech was made in Charlie Chaplin's film The Great Dictator in 1940, which was his first true talking film and one of his most famous films
Although the film follows a soldier in World War I, the movie was made during World War II
At the time it was made, the United States was still formally at peace with Nazi Germany
Chaplin was motivated to make the film by the oppression of Jewish people in Europe
The film quickly became popular in both the U.S. and in England, making about 11 million dollars at the box office
Despite being popular in England, it was banned in most other European countries
During production, England announced that it would not show the film in order to keep peace with Nazi Germany, however when it was released, England was at war with Germany and the film was played freely
The film was nominated for five academy awards including Best Actor and Best Film
Charlie Chaplin later stated that he would not have made the film had he known the extent of what was going on in Nazi concentration camps
Importance and Relevancy:
As unfortunate as it is, human beings have always found something in mankind to hate, whether it's race, sexual orientation, or in this case, religion. However, history has proven that oppression can be overcome with time, and speeches like this. Whether it's Martin Luther King Jr. speaking about his dream of equality, Barack Obama speaking about gay rights, or Charlie Chaplin speaking about dictatorship and oppression, these speeches without a doubt make a huge contribution to overcoming such hate, and it's safe to say that they will continue to in the future.
Authors Tone and Shifts in Tone:
Overall the author’s point of view regards his opinion on dictatorship. Throughout the piece he is trying to convey that he does not believe that dictators should be in power.
• Begins as a timid/quiet piece: “I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor… I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone- if possible,” it makes it seem as though he is apologetic and weak.
• Shift in Tone at the beginning of the second paragraph: “Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.” This is taking a stronger, harsher approach.
• Changes from calm: “And so long as men die, liberty will never perish,” to harsher: “SOLDIERS! Don’t give yourselves to brutes- men who despise you – enslave you – who regiment your lives- tell you what to do- what to think and what to feel! Who drill you- diet you- treat you like cattle…”
• The closing shift is: “Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people…Let us fight to free the world...Soldiers! In the name of democracy, let us all unite!” Closes the speech in a way that will hopefully ensure that the listeners will support him.
Author's Choice of Diction:
Simile- "Who drill you- diet you- treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder."
Metaphor- "You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men!"
Personification- "The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men- cries out for univeral brotherhood- for unity of us all."
Allusion- "In the 17th Chapter of St. Luke it is written: 'the Kingdon of God is within man'- not one man nor a group of men, but all men!"
Analogy- "the hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish."
Chaplin's diction throughout the speech is grammatically correct and slightly conversational, however he speaks with a command.
Does this to help the listeners to understand what he is saying.
Does not use long complicated words to confuse the audience.
He intends for this speech to be understood by everyone.
The Great Dictator's Speech:
By: Sarah, Gaby, Leaf, and Morgan
Logos: "Our knowledge has made us cynical."
Logos: "You, the people have the power - the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure"
Pathos: "You have lost the humanity in your hearts!"
Ethos: "I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone - if possible - Jew, Gentile - black man - white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness - not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. "