In stories set in a dystopian
society, there is usually the one scene in the story where a dissident of the society has a "meeting of the minds" with a high ranking official of the society. During the meeting, the official can perfectly understand where the dissident is coming from with his objections, but has a rebuttal for each one, and explains why his vision for the society are flawed and thus wouldn't work. In a Crapsack World
setting, the official will state how they've stamped it out and such.
Usually also serves as a Breaking Speech
, as the dissident has their mind blown by how the authorities are so much smarter and more powerful than the dissident dreamed.
There are also cases where the official doesn't support the society, but explains how it works and why people think the way they think.
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- The Matrix franchise:
- The Matrix: Agent Smith (as the "official [who] doesn't support the society") during his interrogation of Morpheus. "Humans are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a...plague. And we... are the cure."
- The Matrix Reloaded has Neo's confrontation with The Architect. The Architect explains how The One functions as an instrument of control and why this is the only form of victory humans will ever achieve. Neo says 'screw you' and takes the second option.
- The Matrix Revolutions has an inversion of the trope when Smith confronts the Oracle (a villain confronting a heroic inquisitor). He mirrors the scene in her kitchen from the first movie and is desperately trying to provoke her into lecturing him about the system and choice and fate, but she just sits there passively and tells him to Get It Over With.
- Equilibrium finishes on one of these, with the added bonus that the official also doesn't believe it either.
Live Action TV
- Roj Blake's dressing-down in the first episode of Blake's 7.
- The Twilight Zone episode The Obsolete Man, depicts a future dystopian society where a librarian named Wordsworth, played by Burgess Meredith, is sentenced to death by the chancellor (Fritz Weaver) for being "obsolete". He asks to have the chancellor visit him just before he is about to die, the method of which he is able to choose. They debate the morality of a society where a person's right to live is determined by their worth to the state. Wordsworth then reveals that they are being televised, and he has chosen to die by having the now locked room set to explode at midnight. After a while, the chancellor begs Wordsworth in the "name of God" to let him go. He does just before the room explodes. The chancellor now is condemned himself for showing cowardice and deemed "obsolete" by the same court he previously presided over.
- Within the overall narrative of Rush's 2112, the fourth movement, Presentation, is this from a priest of the Temple of Syrinx to the protagonist.
- George Bernard Shaw:
- In Saint Joan, the Inquisitor delivers a long and very convincing speech on the necessity of the Inquisition to a young friar who doubts Joan's heresy.
- Burgoyne in The Devil's Disciple.
- The Roman Emperor in Androcles and the Lion asserts that he is actually a Christian evangelist — since Christian martyrs inspire converts, the more Christians he kills, the more Christians he creates.
- Played with in Sid Meiers Alpha Centauri. Every single faction gets several of these, but they also double as Author Tracts simultaneously and the factions have radically opposing viewpoints.
- Happens between the party and The Magic Emperor at the end of Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete. It involves the goddess and the role she plays in the world's order and prosperity.
- Occurs in Breath of Fire III between Ryu and Myria, where the latter explains her means and goals. The rest of the party get to voice their own opinions before the player decides whether to agree or disagree with the position presented.