The King's Speech Analysis
Are ‘bad’ words necessarily bad?
Recently I saw a great movie called ‘The King’s Speech’, which led me to this question. First of all, I recommend everybody reading this blogpost and everybody not reading this blogpost to watch this movie because it is funny and interestingly themed. Besides, I recommend everybody to pay special attention to the swearing in the movie, partly because it makes one of the funniest scenes and partly because to me this scene says a lot about the role swearing plays in society. Lastly, I would like to recommend everybody not to stop reading after this part, because this post might give you something to think about.
First of all, let’s analyse the different types of cursing around the …show more content…
Cultures in Arabic countries or China care about their family more than the American culture or the West-European cultures. This means insulting family will be taken very seriously in Mandarin for example, where insulting someone’s cào nǐ zǔzōng shíbā dài (your ancestors to the 18th generation) is taken extremely seriously. All in all I can conclude that culture influences cursing as much as it influences every other type of language. I think the producers of ‘The King’s Speech’ had this in mind too.
The film tells the story of King George VI, also called ‘Bertie’, and his struggle to overcome his stutter. When Bertie becomes king after his brother abdicates, he decides to hire a speech therapist called Lionel Logue. The therapist has some interesting methods including putting steel balls in his mouth, singing while talking and gargling with warm water to improve his speech. The most funny and interesting scene though is where the king is told to swear. Below you can see a fragment:
Lionel Logue: You don’t stammer when you swear.
Bertie: Oh, bugger off!
Logue: Is that the best you can do?
Bertie: Well — bloody bugger to you, you beastly bastard.
Logue: Oh, a public-school prig could do better than that.
Bertie: Shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!
Logue: Defecation flows trippingly from …show more content…
Although the people of England and the king speak the same language, there is an obvious gap between the two. The stutter the king struggles with symbolises this gap in my opinion. Every time the Bertie tries to connect to the people in his country his stutter interferes. The reason is that the language he uses, which is the royal language he was always taught, is not the language the people use. This creates the chasm between them over which Logue tries to build a bridge. In the end it seems the only way to build this is to swear, which ironically is the type of language that was always forbidden for the king. In the scene above the king starts by saying bad words like bugger and bastard. Apparently this is not enough for Lionel Logue and he tries to make the king do worse. The moment he starts letting his royal language go, he starts letting his stutter go. The moment people start using the same language, they will start connecting to each