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English Lit/Lang Anthology [Edward VIII] Cheat Sheet by

A Level English Lit/Lang [OCR Exam Board] This has not yet come up in an exam.

Edward & Willis

About this speech

Edward VIII was the King of England for a few months until he abdicated the throne, on the advise of the Prime Minister, so he could marry a twice-­div­orced American, Wallis Simpson.

Wallis Simpson was contro­versial due to her two previous divorces, which meant she was deemed unsuitable to be married to the King, as The Church of England was still against divorce. This caused a crisis and was the reason Edward VIII stepped down.

Edward VIII was well-liked due to his efforts to relate to the common man. He also made an effort to visit those in povert­y-s­tricken areas. He had also serviced in WW1, making him more relatable to those who had also served.


Genre: Speech (planned)
Register: Formal
Audience: People in Britain, the British Empire.
Mode: Spoken but written before­hand- multim­odal.
Purpose: To inform the people of his abdica­tion. Many people were not aware of the event until a week after it broadcast. It also tried to reassure the people that his abdication is in the best interest of the people and that the succession will be untroubled by his decision.


(Giles Accomm­odation theory - not essential to learn but will get you top marks if applied correc­tly). Edward tries to converge his language to being similar to those he is speaking to, the general public. He does this by using modifiers and condit­ionals "­tried to serve" and "as I would wish to do" and he also used direct address "and i want you".

Shift between informal and formal language- (informal) "I am able to say a few words of my own", "with all my heart". (Formal) "­declare my allegiance to him". This language shift reflects his tensions between his status as King but also the public's view of him as an ordinary and accessible man.

Themes of unity emphasised to fulfil the purpose of the speech that he is trying to reassure the audience, that the country will be safe- "best for all" "by all classes of people­" "­British race and empire­".

Continued use of personal pronoun "­I" emphasises the personal nature of the speech, quite different to what we'd expect as he is showing his own feelings, something the Monarchy would not have done.
This is key as it evokes Pathos and makes the listeners emphasise with him as the struggle he is going through is being portrayed as inherently human.

In using "­you­" and "­all­" several times he is directly appealing the audience and emphasise that the country will not be in turmoil after he leaves.

Use of Logos - "long training in the public affairs of this country and with his fine qualit­ies­" "a happy home with his wife and childr­en". Uses these three qualities to emphasise his brother's ability to lead, in mentioning his "long training in the public affair­s" he is inviting the audience to make a logical link to the brother's ability to rule, again fulfilling the aim of the speech to assure the public.

Pathos - "I have for twenty­-five years tried to server­" the verb "­tri­ed" evokes Pathos and makes the listeners more susceptive to what is is trying to say rather than taking a hostile view.

Personal pronouns and editing - "i have been comforted by her majesty my mother and by my family­" - editing aims to present Edward as inherently human as he is going to his mother for support. Aimed to intensify the sympathy and forces the listeners to see the human side of royalty. The use of "­my" emphasises his relati­onship to those people, shows the affection he feels towards them and helps to rehumanise the crown.


Emotive language ("all the heart" x2) start and end of speech repetition emphasises his emotional tie to the issue. Use of common idioms of the lower classes to evoke pathos + appeal to their emotions.

Emotive language ("the woman I love") plain and simplistic lexis emphasises his humanity and the simpleness of the reason for his abdica­tion. The lack of naming Wallis is due to the contro­versial government opinion of her, and this speech would have been vetted by advisors so it would have been suggested to not name her due to the contro­versy surrou­nding her.

Repetition ("mine and mine alone") shows that Edward is trying to hold all accoun­tab­ility for his decision, as it would be likely that tabloids would claim that Wallis made him do this.
The almost tautology "mine alone" acts as intens­ifying phrase to further emphasises point of holding himself accoun­table for his abdica­tion.

Lexis and monarchy - "­con­sti­tut­ional crisis­" "­thr­one­" "­min­ister of the crown" "­Prince of Wales" "Duke of York" "King and Empero­r" - emphasises his place in society, making his use of plain lexis in other places appear incong­ruous. This emphasises the split between him and his listeners, even if it is done in advert­ently, making it appear his attempts to appeal to the general public are fruitless due to his place in society.

Lexis of Duty ("de­clare my allegi­anc­e", "­dis­charged my last duty") stresses the societal importance of the crown and the tradition that surrounds it. He is inadve­rtently emphas­ising his own personal sacrifice of stepping down and shaking of his duty.

Opener ("at long last I am able to be say a few words of my own") foregr­ounds the notion that there words are coming from him. As he goes to such great lengths to do this it is clear he wants to take all respon­sib­ility for this issue. The elongated vowel sounds of this phrase at the start and end slow down this phrase and places emphasis on "my own" to emphasise this point further.

Edward's closing statement ("God bless you all! God save the King!") - the change here with the use of the exclam­ative shows Edward's looking positively to the future, suggesting that the listeners should also do this.

Grice's maxims - fits the criteria of maxim of quality but flouts the maxim of relevance as he does not always stick to the point at hand, his abdica­tion, when he tries to appeal to the listener's emotions.

Through applying Gile's accomo­dationg theory you can see he is trying to converge his language to those listeners, who are of lower class to him, to evoke Pathos.


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