A speech is an artificial vocal surrounding of thoughts. To examine a speech, it is necessary to analyze its key elements. The paper will analyze a speech of one of the main characters of the movie Matrix Reloaded, which was directed in 2003 by the Wachowski Brothers. A public speaking item under consideration is an example of a persuasive speech. For this paper, the speech will be labeled with a conventional title “Hear Me,” which is given by one of the main characters of the film. Morpheus talks to a thousand of people. He is a credible speaker and his words have value; he is, figuratively saying, a “shadowy leader” of people’s thoughts. He manages to persuade a crowd in the two-minute speech. The idea of analyzing this speech is to discuss the elements of persuasion.
It is interesting to describe this speech because of its perlocutionary effect. Its general purpose is to inform people about the current situation. Specifically, it is aimed to stop panic in a city of Zion, which is the last city of men. People are under attack, which can destroy them all, and they are afraid. Here, Morpheus is able not only to persuade people to fight their enemies, but he also makes them fight their own fear. The speaker appeals to a human nature of each of the listeners because fear is one of the basic emotions. To get afraid in front of any danger is a human instinct. When a person is afraid, he or she may choose either to run or to fight. The speech clearly sends a message that there is no other choice but to fight. People are united under the idea of a struggle. The success of Morpheus’s speech makes it a fascinating object for analysis.
In order to gather ideas that a speech conveys, one should process its content and respond to delivery. Therefore, it is worth discussing impression management, which is based on front stage and back stage behaviors. It is necessary to mention that Morpheus was expected to talk, which already contributes to the overall impression of the speech. The authority and importance of his words were established before his entrance. Morpheus is asked to speak by Councillor, who says the following words: “Someone who hasn't spoken here in a long time, but who I believe has something to say that we all need to hear. I give you Morpheus” (“Morpheus' Speech to Zion”).
When Morpheus comes in front of the people, he is already treated warmly. He is modestly and appropriately dressed. It helps him to create a connection between him and his audience. This is how he sends the message that they all are the same people and that he understands his listeners. It is specific to the movie that characters have special body marks, and such a mark is also seen on the Morpheus’s uncovered torso. This shows that he was a slave but was freed like others.
Morpheus's stage behavior is closely connected to his front stage appearance. A lot can be said about his posture. Morpheus stands still, feeling comfortable with legs shoulder-width apart. He does not change his posture during his speech but extends it with wide hand gestures and mimics. His figure looks like a monumental element that serves as an addition to the rock on which he stands. This also has an effect on his speech. Morpheus distinctly articulates each word and makes accents on the most important words using a calm and determined tone. The certainty in his voice makes an impact on the audience and makes the people positively respond to the speech.
The speech is thoughtfully constructed. Its structure corresponds to the Toulman’s Model. Morpheus introduces the main topic with a clear statement: “It is true, what many of you have heard” (“Morpheus' Speech to Zion”). This captures the attention of the audience. Morpheus continues his speech with the claim that there is an army of machines that has only one purpose – to kill all of them. He qualifies this information with another statement about hard times ahead. Then, the speaker supports the statement with data concerning the hundred-year history of their successful survival. This leads to the culmination of the speech given in a following warrant: “After a century of war, I remember that which matters most. We are still here!” (“Morpheus' Speech to Zion”). Morpheus unites the crowd under the idea of the necessity to stand against the army: “Let us be heard from red core to black sky. Tonight, let us make them remember. This is Zion!” (“Morpheus' Speech to Zion”).
In conclusion, Morpheus addresses the audience with evocative phrases about the fight that is coming and inspires people to battle. Step by step, Morpheus prepares the crowd for the inevitable situation so that people could manage it without fear.
According to the Toulman’s Model, some elements are absent from the speech. There are no counter-arguments in it, but they are not required by its purpose. The speech is constructed to get the audience’s reaction. This aim is achieved. The crowd whispers with fear in the beginning and cheers and applauses at the end of the speech. Thus, it can be concluded that “Hear Me” speech is effective in its persuasion, which is a result of a complex items that are thoroughly used by Morpheus.
Morpheus is a good speaker so he pays special attention to non-verbal signals in his speech. A time aspect should be also considered. The speech about the fight is given on the day when this fight is expected. This makes its effect more vivid. Chromatics is crucial in this case. Morpheus uses meaningful pauses between his words and gives the audience an opportunity to grasp the significance of information. Proxemics has an important role as well. A common rule for public speaking, which is keeping a distance between a speaker and its listeners, is followed: Morpheus stands far away and above the people. This insures that he is seen by everyone and he is also able to keep an eye contact with the audience.
Morpheus has a strong voice and his words are heard by each person no matter whether he or she is standing in the front or in the back row. It is interesting that the place where the speech is delivered is very convenient due to its acoustic effect. Since the people are gathered under the ground in a cave, the speech is magnified in those walls.
The speaker does not use touch during the performance. Instead, paralinguistics has its impact. Morpheus talks very slowly. He understands that his audience is one step away from panic and that is why his tone is decisive and calm. He uses gestures in order to manipulate the people. The public accepts his hands spread in front as a sign of silence in the begging of the speech. He is careful with every move. One of the most distinguishable gestures of Morpheus is knuckling his hands. His fists signify that he is ready to make another step – he is ready to move from talking to acting. The inner power that Morpheus possesses inspires others not to be afraid and resist the army that brings death.
Apart from non-verbal signals, actual words spoken should be discussed. Morpheus carefully chooses his vocabulary and sentence structure. The thing that is noticed at once is that there are almost no negative structure sentences in the speech. Most of the sentences state something. The speech is also emotional due to the repetitive phrases such as “believe me…” and “I remember…,” which influence the emotional state of the audience. The repetitive use of a personal pronoun “I” also has its effect. This is how Morpheus shows that he is strong and has no fear; he shows his power. This power is partly transferred to the crowd when he starts to use a pronoun “we” and “us”. For instance, it is used in the second part of the speech when the main thesis is stated:
“We are still here!”, “Toning let us…” “We are not afraid!” (“Morpheus' Speech to Zion”). Regardless of pronouns used, one should always name his audience. Morpheus does this as well by addressing the crowed as Zion: “Zion! Hear me!” (“Morpheus' Speech to Zion”).
There are many questions in the speech. They are used to make people consider their situation. For example, the pause after the phrase “I stand here before you now, truthfully unafraid. Why?” makes the crowd think about it (“Morpheus' Speech to Zion”). In a minute, Morpheus gives an answer that illustrates that he has had the same fear as they but he remembers that this situation can be survived as history suggests.
“Hear Me” is a good example of a persuasive speech. The speaker is challenged to stop the panic and turn it into a fighting mood. This aim is achieved by various means. First of all, the speech is well-constructed in accordance with the Toulman’s Model. It has an opening thesis statement about the danger ahead, a culmination point based on the additional data, and an ending, when the audience responses to the message sent. The front and back stage behaviors also help Morpheus to manage the crowd by building a rapport (based on clothing, posture, gestures, etc.). Besides these means, the speaker uses a number of non-verbal signals. Among the most useful are chromatics and proxemics. Morpheus also successfully manipulates with his voice tone. At first, it is calm and resentful and it reveals emotions in the end (in addition to fist gestures). The appropriate choice of words and phrases is the core of the speech. This is how the speaker is able to share the important data and to set a proper tone for it. Considering all the above mentioned, it can be concluded that “Hear Me” is a distinguishable example of persuasive piece of public speaking.