The Great Dictator by Charles Chaplin Essay

The Great Dictator by Charles Chaplin Essay

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“The Great Dictator”, an elegant speech composed by the magnificent Charlie Chaplin, was a particularly moving one that has gained widespread recognition and praise since it was given back in the 1940s. On the surface, it appears as if Chaplin is directing soldiers to think for themselves and to break away from dictators’ indoctrination, as “dictators free themselves but they enslave the people!” is a line that is reprehended throughout the speech. Further analysis of Chaplin’s speech seems to reveal, however, that he rather wants the soldiers to break away from the deeper aspect of tyranny that has been embedded within them, essentially controlling them. Chaplin wants the audience to take action and think for themselves; to help one another and to save humanity from war using three key rhetorical tools: ethos, organization and pathos.
Chaplin’s direct audience in this speech is the soldiers of every army around the globe. He uses ethos in an attempt to get the soldiers to do the right thing by helping each other to achieve a common goal: bringing each other happiness, a goal which is evident in the following quote taken from the speech: “we want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery.” Our earth is certainly so large and rich with resources to live from that in a perfect world, every human being could live happily. However, it does not take perfection to bring us significantly closer to such a goal—all it takes is cooperative progress in that direction. Charlie is clearly calling on the soldiers to help in bringing about such progress by taking action against the direct threat to the happiness of many. He wants the people to free themselves and others from the barriers that have been unjustly imposed upon ...

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...ything up and says, “you the people... have the power to create happiness.” Ending the speech on a positive note, he notes that we as human beings can be happy if we all work together and fight for what is right.
As evident from “The Great Dictator” in its entirety, Charlie Chaplin was a fantastic writer and speaker. He had successfully convinced his audience that change is possible through his choice of words and charisma. This speech is nothing short of motivational and has many characteristics within it that would help people understand his point of view and also come into agreement with him, those being ethos, organization, and pathos in particular. Although this was given several decades ago, it remains relatable today in terms of how things like money and power have blinded people and caused so much misery and destruction for the benefit of a few.

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