Wordles of Famous Speeches

I have mentioned Wordle previously on this blog - nearly three years ago in fact, when I used it for Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. Wordle is a tool to create word clouds, often making words different sizes in order to emphasize their relative prominence. For "I Have a Dream," I put in the text of the speech and Wordle picked out the 100 most common words (excluding common words like "of" or "and"), changing their size according to their frequency. I even created an image with state abbreviations shown by their state's geographic size (right). Right now, though, I want to return to speeches, and use the same method as with "I Have a Dream." Without further ado, here are some Wordles of other famous oratory:

Here's the funeral speech of Mark Antony, according to Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. It contains one of the English language's most famous examples of repeated sarcasm: "And Brutus is an honorable man."


Another one written by Shakespeare: Hamlet's soliloquy from the eponymous play. Surprisingly, the word "be" only occurs four times, and isn't in the Wordle since it's common. Note the "th" in there though, since Shakespeare used it with an apostrophe and Wordle doesn't recognize that as common.



The Gettysburg Address is arguably the most famous speech in American history. This is the "Bliss copy" since there are several different versions. Does the arrangement of the words evoke the chaos, calamity, and conflict of the Civil War?





Here's another presidential speech - "The Chance for Peace," also known by the phrase "Cross of Iron." Three months into his presidency, during the end of Korean War and following the death of Stalin, Dwight Eisenhower spoke forcefully against calls for increased American military spending. Famously, he said "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

To conclude, I'm going to return to the resoundingly powerful oratory of Martin Luther King, Jr. Although "I Have a Dream" is his most famous speech, "I've Been to the Mountaintop," spoken on April 3, 1968, is the last sermon he gave before his death - the night before, as a matter of fact. It's an unbelievably prophetic message, and it calls for economic boycotts to promote further freedom and justice. Listen to the full audio and watch partial video here.

Let me know if you have recommendations for a future Wordle post - or go make your own!

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