Show Trials; the Justice Game

The Show Trials
Key Phrases:
‘prove how legal systems, with their varying procedural rituals for emphasising objectivity and impartiality and apparent ability to extract the truth, can be vulnerable to political manipulation’

‘the most fundamental right of all is the right to challenge the State, under a legal system which allows the possibility, occasionally, of winning’

Dialogue  establishes historical aspect of argument (as common, and occurring several times in history and hence injustice)
Word choice – ‘conspiracy’ ‘deception’ ‘perfidy’ ‘treason’  establishes deceitful nature of the authorities and legal system

Repetition of the word, ‘justice’ – ‘mockeries of justice’, ‘medieval principle of justice’ indicative of its subversion
Ethos – establishing the righteousness and verity of the speaker  ‘I helped the dissidents in communist...’
Selection and omission  choice to include the crowd chorusing  adds to the gravitas of his case and the communal nature and importance of his argument
Parenthesis ‘(I kick myself for not realising)’  adds to pathos with the audience developing a sense of pity for the speaker
Selection and omission – adds the scene of paying with American dollars  exposes absurd nature of the charges against the defendant, portrayed as the victim of ‘show trials’ (those with a pre-determined outcome)
Satire – irony, ‘Welcome to communist Prague, for all lovers of irony’ (supports above statement in relation to the ludicrous nature of trials)
Selection and omission – inclusion of the anecdote of the criminal offence of possessing the song book  legal system as ridiculous
Characterisation of Havel – ‘his politeness gets the better of him’
Rhetorical questioning – ‘What’s the difference between Gorbachev and Dubchek?’  appeal to audience, black humour (of content)
Anecdotal  reinforces the fable of the ‘legal system’ as a fictitious representation of the truth by structuring his argument to be story-like...