Charlie Chaplin’s Speech in the Great Dictator: Who Initialized It and What Purpose Did Each Filmmaker Have in Mind?
His childhood was fraught with hardship and poverty — an apathetic, alcoholic father who deserted his family, and an income-less mother who suffered from psychosis resulted in Chaplin being sent to a workhouse at the tender age of seven. After abandoning his education at a school for paupers at the age of 13, Chaplin began his slow and arduous climb through the world of entertainment. Having started out as a member of a dancing troupe, he progressed through minor roles in stage plays to the burlesque pieces which first gave an indication of his comedic prowess. Soon after, he was recruited by an American film studio and plunged into the world of silent films where he would soon reign supreme.
The film was banned throughout occupied Europe, in parts of South America, and in the Irish Free State.
He makes the argument that pure logic and reasoning is a cold way to look at the world, and that it takes feelings and emotion (the one thing that separates man from machines) to combat our naturally evil tendencies. This argument resonates incredibly well with a people that have recently witnessed the birth of several evil, fascist movements. He didn’t say anything that Americans didn’t already know to be true, but this reassurance that they must fight for what they’ve always fought for — liberty, equality, and overall happiness — gives the American people confidence to stick up for these ideas. The confidence and anger he creates using ethos and pathos makes people want to fight for what is right, and that was the whole purpose of Chaplin’s speech in the first place: to ignite the fight in all Americans against injustice.
Each is a distorting mirror, the one for good, the other for untold evil.” Chaplin spent many months drafting and re-writing the speech for the end of the film, a call for peace from the barber who has been mistaken for Hynkel. Many people criticized the speech, and thought it was superfluous to the film. Others found it uplifting. Regrettably Chaplin’s words are as relevant today as they were in 1940.
TheChaplinFilms. “Charlie Chaplin — Final Speech from The Great Dictator.” YouTube