Agora Themes

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The movie Agora, directed by Alejandro Amenabar, focuses on many historical themes. It is quite prominent that many of those can be seen as prevalent in historical and modern times. The movie shows how events unfurled in the late fourth century C.E. It is striking how it portrays the misuse of religion by large groups in those events. For instance, Amenabar’s portrayal of that era shows religion being used to justify throwing a man onto fire, almost burning him. Religion is also used by characters in the film to validate the persecution of pagans, as well as the heartless destruction of the Library of Alexandria. As the movie comes to an end, religion is used to justify violence and the murder of Hypatia – a dedicated scholar who thought independently of religion. One of the most poignant scenes in the movie is the destruction of the Great Library of Alexandria after Emperor Theodosius orders that…show more content…
Radicals like those shown in the movie and those represented by the IS try to enforce a linear way of thinking, leaving little room for analysis and questioning. It seems that for them, how they perceive knowledge is ‘right’. The movie represents such doctrine - the Christians malign Hypatia and then finally lead her to the same place in the library where she is murdered. The IS, likewise, beheaded Khaled al-As’ad, who was the former general manager for antiquities and museums in Palmyra. Undoubtedly, he had a treasure trove of knowledge about the ancient city. Very much like Hypatia, Khaled al-As’ad was publicly beheaded in the public square of the very city of Palmyria. What the library was to Hypatia, the city and its ruins were for Khaled al-As’ad. Another striking similarity is how Hypatia was labeled a heretic by the Christians of her time, and how the word ‘heretic’ was written on Khaled’s forehead in red Arabic
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