Similarities Between 1984 And Metropolis

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Whereas Lang’s science fiction film Metropolis (1927) examines the debilitating consequences for humanity in an exploitive Capitalist society, George Orwell focuses on the authoritarian maintenance of power through use of indoctrination in his dystopic novel 1984 (1949). Both texts, however, value the power of the human spirit to rise above oppression, illustrating its persistence against forces that threaten individuals’ autonomy. Directed in a post- WW1 society, Lang criticises the exploitation of the lower classes facilitated by the onset of industrialisation. Set in a post-atomic world, 1984 instead conveys concerns of the emergence of totalitarian governments and the resulting loss of human relationships. When read together, the texts…show more content…
Through the novel’s tripartite structure, Orwell creates a dystopic setting that reflects a post-atomic world where totalitarianism had led to a loss of autonomy. Even familial links are sabotaged under the authoritarian rule of the Party as symbolised in the Parsons’ kids ‘All they think about is the spies and the war,’ alluding to Hitler Youth who were indoctrinated into the hatred of Jews, and performed espionage on behalf of the Nazis. This depraved trespass of family values highlights the vulnerability of humanity under political fundamentalism, explored in the characterisation of Winston as ‘downcast’ with a ‘varicose ulcer’. However, through the exploration of Winston’s relationship with Julia, Orwell highlights the endurance of a common humanity under a totalitarian rule. Orwell characterises Julia as the last remnants of free thought in the dystopic world of 1984, embodying autonomy that extends beyond the constraints of the Party as highlighted by the retrospective irony, ‘They can 't get to your heart.’ Although fleeting, her relationship with Winston remains a powerful expression of humanity, a political rebellion against the puritanical fundamentalism of the Party’s doctrine. This is furthered in the motif of the red…show more content…
Lang cautions the nature of totalitarian states to limit creativity and free thought in the introduction of ‘newspeak’ as revealed in the rhetorical question ‘Don 't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?’. An allusion to the 1933 book burnings, Lang portrays newspeak as a tool of social manipulation that strips the power of expression from its citizens, presenting instead an indoctrinated perspective of the world with clear, unambiguous terms. This is highlighted in the symbolic Big Brother; the demigod construct perpetuates a Manichean belief in the Party as a force against evil, a satirical allusion to the tyranny of Nazi Germany in WWII. This contrasts with Lang’s more redemptive portrayal of authoritarian leadership, portraying Frederson his knees near the denouement of the film, a symbol of supplication, highlighting his reconnection to a common humanity. Through the oxymoronic national slogan ‘War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength’, Orwell symbolises the extreme extent of the Party’s pervasive psychological control and manipulation over the citizens; a form of ‘doublethink’, Orwell warns of a dystopia where even reality is manipulated to maintain conformity to the Party by coercing belief into what is ‘true’, Big

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