Orson Welles Citizen Kane: The Great American Dream

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Orson Welles’ 1941 film noir Citizen Kane is an exploration of human condition and the effects on those who are closest to him through his pursuit of the Great American Dream. This is achieved by depicting widely upon the quest for happiness. He extends the life story of William Randolph Hearst, a non-fictional media tycoon and characterises Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) to imitate his life. The corrupting nature of power and wealth, unreliability of memory and isolation versus interventionalism are some of the universal concepts that Welles explores by crafting his feature film. Individuals in the society have faith in media thus they delegate their power so that they ACCURATELY inform them about events, incidents and news. Ironically,…show more content…
In Citizen Kane, Welles characterises Kane as a wealthy and known newspaper mogul. However, despite his excess wealth, the audience is positioned to see Kane die lonely and isolated. Kane’s diminishing reflection in the mirrors when Susan leaves him. this imitates the character’s own loneliness and emptiness despite being the prime example of an individual who has successfully achieved the Great American Dream. This visually symbolises the trap in the flawed ethos of the dream. By doing so, he positions the audience to understand how economic fortunes eventually does not provide happiness. Furthermore, the emptiness and delusion in Kane’s private life is evident through the non-sequential flashbacks portray Kane’s disjointed life. A life where no two ends meet and everything seems to be in tatters. Thus the use of cuts, slow dissolves and flashbacks effectively convey both Kane’s public and private life. The public life is representative of the Great American Dream and the private life represents the isolation which an individual experience as a result of the dream. According to critic Roger Ebert 1998, “Rosebud is the emblem of the security, hope and innocence of childhood, which a man can spend his life seeking to regain.” By viewing the film, we as the audience are able to understand that happiness of childhood cannot be gained through
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