TheWorldsGreatestSpeeches

14 yrs and up, $175.00, 14 week course– Prerequisite: One Intermediate level course

In the Rhetoric Aristotle states that, “It is absurd to hold that a man should be ashamed of an inability to defend himself with his limbs, but not ashamed of an inability to defend himself with speech and reason; for the use of rational speech is more distinctive of a human being than the use of his limbs.” There is no doubt that Rhetoric has been used in the World’s greatest speeches in order to persuade man to fight and believe in a cause. This class will explore many of the world’s greatest speeches and judge them through the light of Aristotle’s Rhetoric and through their own merits. What makes a speech great, even once the time for action has passed? How does one know when Rhetoric is being used for a good cause?

The Speeches studied in the course reach from Ancient Greece, to Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, and the 40th Anniversary of D-Day. It will cover speeches from the World Wars, the Abolition of the Slave trade, and include a Nobel Peace Prize Speech.

Students will be asked to read, listen to and recite the speeches in preparation for each class in order to appreciate the difference between the written and spoken word and the interpretation of the speaker. Students will be given the chance to recite portions of the speech in class and the opportunity at the end of course to write their own speech.


Week 1:  Rhetoric Selections by Aristotle

Read: Rhetoric Selections

Book 1: 
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Book 2: 
Part 1
Part 12
Part 13
Part 14
Part 20
Part 22

Week 2:  Funeral Oration by Pericles - 431 BC: Athens, Greece
Read: Funeral Oration 
Listen: Funeral Oration Pericles 
*Note the Speech from Librivox includes a description of the funeral also. This is useful for context.

Week 3: Apology by Socrates - 399 BC: Athens, Greece
Read: Apology
Listen: Apology
*For those interested in hearing how it sounds in Greek*

Week 4: The Third Philippic by Demosthenes - 342 BC: Athens, Greece
Read: The Third Philippic
Listen: The Third Philippic

Week 5: Speech of Alexander the Great - 326 BC: Hydaspes River, India
Read: Speech of Alexander the Great
Listen: Speech of Alexander the Great

Week 6: The First Oration Against Catiline by Marcus Tullius Cicero - 63 BC: Rome, Italy
Read: The First Oration Against Catiline
Listen: The First Oration Against Catiline

Week 7: The Sermon on the Mount by Jesus Christ - 33 AD; Jerusalem, Palestine
Read: Matthew 5 -7
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Listen: The Sermon on the Mount

Week 8: Abolition Speech by William Wilberforce - May 12, 1789: House of Commons, London
Read: Wilberforce Abolition Speech
Listen:

Week 9: What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? by Frederick Douglass - July 5, 1852: Rochester, NY
Read: What to a Slave is the Fourth of July?
Listen: What to a Slave is the Fourth of July?

Week 10: Blood, Sweat, and Tears by Winston Churchill - May 13, 1940: House of Commons, London
Read: Blood, Sweat, and Tears
Listen: Blood, Sweat, and Tears

We Shall Fight on the Beaches by Winston Churchill - June 4, 1940: House of Commons, London
Read: We Shall Fight on the Beaches
Listen: We Shall Fight on the Beaches
      
Their Finest Hour by Winston Churchill - June 18, 1940: House of Commons, London
Read: Their Finest Hour
Listen: Their Finest Hour

Week 11: Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech by William Faulkner - December 10, 1950: Stockholm, Sweden
Read: Faulkner Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech
Listen: Faulkner Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

Week 12: Duty, Honor, Country by General Douglas MacArthur - May 12, 1962: West Point, New York
Read: Duty, Honor, Country
Listen: Duty, Honor, Country

Week 13: I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr. - August 28, 1963: Washington, D.C.
Read: I Have a Dream
Listen: I Have a Dream

Week 14: 40th Anniversary of D-Day by Ronald Reagan - June 6, 1984: Pointe du Hoc, France
Read: 40th Anniversary of D-Day
Listen: 40th Anniversary of D-Day