Metropolis and 1984

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Michaelliang98
Words 1146
Pages 5
When distribution of power in a society is too unevenly distributed, or when one group abuses their power too greatly to the detriment of others, then the oppressed often find a way to rebel or even initiate revolution. In Metropolis and Nineteen Eighty-Four we see depictions of dystopian societies that provoke rebellion or revolution, though as each text was produced during or shortly after significantly different periods of conflict and upheaval, we ultimately see two different attitudes presented, with very different expectations for the outcome of such actions.

Throughout history, the most common social structure to provoke revolution is one with hierarchical social classes. Lang’s depiction of divided social classes in a film encouraging sympathy for the lower class, has parallels with its time, being produced shortly after the German revolution in which the imperial government was replaced by a form of democracy (the Weimar Republic). Lang uses expressionistic imagery, and the strong contrast of light and shade characteristic of German Expressionist Cinema to distinguish the two classes inhabiting the futuristic city. The workers are depicted in uniform black, trudging in synchronised columns into a dark tunnel to their work with the machines. Exiting, they walk at a slower pace suggesting work draws the life out of them, while montages of gears and heavy machinery construct them as part of the machine. This opening sequence is juxtaposed with the light shades and open spaces of the upper city, particularly the Eternal Garden. While workers trudge into dark tunnels, Freder, the protagonist and other sons of Metropolis’ elite run freely in leisure activities beneath towering walls and statues. This clear social divide establishes the familiar pattern for the revolution that is to come.

Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four explores the more complex scenario of an…...

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