Piano Symbolism In Casablanca

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Michael Curtiz’ film, Casablanca, reveals a plethora of symbolism. In particular, the piano is a very important symbol in the film. A piano holds much symbolism, but there is one particular symbol of the piano that pertains to this film: the heart. In fact, if one was to look at a grand piano from an overhead view, one would notice that it somewhat resembles the shape of a heart. The piano in the film is an upright piano, but the idea of a piano still holds that symbolic meaning. The piano is the heart of Rick’s cafe. Whenever Sam plays it, the cafe is electric and energized; when he is not playing it, the cafe is very dull and unenergetic. Not only does the piano symbolize this, but it also symbolizes purity and Rick’s own heart. Physically, the piano is directly in the center of Rick’s cafe. Curtiz’ placement of the piano is done for a very specific reason: to demonstrate that…show more content…
As long as he has owned his cafe, Rick has prohibited Sam from playing the song “As Time Goes By.” This is because the song would remind him of Ilsa and the love that they shared in Paris a long time ago. For the entire time this song has not been played, Rick’s heart has been closed off from Ilsa and the memory of Paris. When Ilsa is “unknowingly” in Rick’s cafe, she asks Sam to play the song. When he begins to play it, Rick’s heart painfully opens up, and he knows that Ilsa is there. Later, Rick and Sam are at the bar in the cafe. Rick willingly, but achingly, requests Sam to play the song once again. At this point, Rick’s heart is completely opened and susceptible to the painful memory of Ilsa and Paris. At the end of the film, when Rick sends Ilsa and Laszlo off to Lisbon with the letters of transit, he finally receives closure and both his mind and his heart are freed from the past. He plans to leave Casablanca, and he will leave the piano behind with it, signifying the death of Rick and Ilsa’s relationship and Rick’s old
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