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Themes in Metropolis

Channelling a zeitgeist of Totalities, Metropolis explores how dystopic values result in lack of humanity. The reductionism of the employees, debased to mindless cattle through the stark uniformity of costuming and emotionless body gestures during "Shift Change", foreshadows the deteriorating monetary situation as Germany contacted the Great Melancholy. The dehumanisation of the proletariats as they undertake the Worker's City is emphasised by the activity of intertitles down the display screen. It shows that the workers have become area of the functional elevator they are driving in, mirroring their sociable status as the recurring motif of second-rate 'Hands' to the superior 'Head'; dealing with the appearing post-war interpersonal stratification experienced by Lang's original audience. The individuals' grim truth sharply contrasted with the gaiety and decadence of the Eternal Gardens, a twisted biblical allusion to the Garden of Eden. The gaudy courtesans and men are ironically dehumanised, as their frolicking in this utopian, idyllic environment gives them a deified yet carnal quality. Lang thus degrades their mankind until what remains is an animalistic baseness, inflated by their expressionist behaving resonant of the style in post-war Weimar nightlife. As a result, the film discloses Metropolis as a cinematic masterpiece hybridising traditional pastoral Germany and the post-war world one modernist age.

In stark distinction, Orwell, holds a deeply pessimistic perspective, specifically positing the weakness of figure in response to oppression. 1984 is a specific reaction to the prevailing 1940's social orthodoxy which blindly lauded the totalitarian methods of the USSR, and therefore, expounds the inescapable subjugation of mankind under state control. The "two minutes hate" is seen to easily avert the citizenry's oppressed frustrations for an external inimical target, highlighting the malleability of human passion, while the heretic Goldstein's verbosity evokes that of Soviet dissident Leon Trotsky, thus allowing Orwell to equate the Party's despotic tactics with the USSR's. In addition, whilst the use of any third person, limited perspective permits the understanding of Winston's stark personality, the parataxis in "He treasured YOUR GOVERNMENT" is jarring, and advises Orwell's firm idea in the unavoidable weakness of the individual soul against oppression. It really is a bleak coda in contrast to that of Metropolis, thus emphasizing the unavoidable overwhelming of the human being spirit by oppressive makes. Furthermore, the ultimate dismantling of personal reason is illustrated in O'Brien's self-reflexive "They received me way back when", recommending his previous individuality, now dismantled, with such nihilism emanating from Orwell's own betrayal and persecution by pro-Soviet socialist comrades whilst providing during the Spanish Civil War. Further increased in the Party's mantra "He who controls the past regulates the near future" this attitude emphasises the perpetual overwhelming of human expression under oppressive regimes.

Metropolis also condemns the degeneration within Langs sociable zeitgeist by recording the destructive implications of revolutions, echoing a period of instability in the rebellions against a fragile democracy. Lang shows Hitler's futile Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, through the biblical allusion of the development of the Tower of Babel, foreshadows the damage of Metropolis to didactically warn against anarchy and revolution. Fredersen's frantic repetition of, "where is my son?!" coupled with theatrical acting in an Expressionist fashion emphasises his deep emotional turmoil, positioning audiences to align with Lang's point of view that in the struggle to "rise against" the present, the continuing future of ensuing generations will be jeopardized. By extension, the juxtaposition of Maria's battle to stop the flooding against Grot's efficiency in initiating this change affirms Lang's point of view that it is far more difficult to breeze back cutting edge change, echoing Germany's cataclysmic amount of hyperinflation fuelled by the Ruhr uprising in 1923. Thus, Lang's portrayal of revolution to entail damaging consequences clearly stems from contextual effect of the revolts in Weimar Germany.

Unlike Metropolis, 1984 draws on the values of the time to present an ideological critique of technology as a propagandist tool for manipulation. In keeping with his obsession with countrywide security and through continuing motifs of surveillance, Orwell portrays technology as a way for the Party to amass unchallenged orthodoxy and dread, visible in Winston's apprehensive shade, ". . . no chance of knowing whether you were being observed at at any time", representing loss of individual organization. Embodied in the brutal personification, "you will want picture into the future, imagine a boot stamping over a human face-for ever, " and compounded by the fact that "Minitrue's" technology allows days gone by to be ". . . erased, the erasure was ignored, the lie became real truth. " Relaying contextual worries of a possible Stalinist program, Orwell's polyptoton illustrates that point and 'fact' can be obliterated by technology, lowering those to mere icons of human being fallibility. Furthermore, people can be "vaporised", "You'll be annihilated before as well as in the future. You will never have existed", though the anaphoric use of "will" is ironic since 1984 operates as Orwell's didactic commentary. Orwell aligned with Lang's point of view that there surely is no probability of another when the usurpation of natural restrictions through technology as an instrument for manipulation results in that dystopic culture.

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