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Module A: 1984 and Metropolis

How did you represent the most important intertextual perspectives presented in
metropolis and nineteen eighty four?
Discuss the important perspectives that you identified, and explain the
techniques that you used so that your audience could gain a better
understanding of the perspectives, the way that the composer presented them
and contextual aspects that they reflect.

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In literature, true dystopian fiction solely deals with the failure of an individual to triumph over
the dominance of a double plus ungood society. Both George Orwells 1949 dystopian novel
1984 and Fritz Langs 1927 science fiction film Metropolis demonstrate how a totalitarian
state is always victorious over defiant individuals and how defiance is crushed under the
dominant power of governments, through the concepts of power, and fear. Both composers
use a range of techniques such as juxtaposition to represent empowerment of women and
detrimental dictatorship rule in their respective texts. They tap into the fears for the future to
convey political messages & rebel against the totalitarian nature of their contextual societies.
Both texts were composed around the context of pre and post World War 2 which is clearly
evident through their settings, characterisation, themes and ideas.

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In Orwells 1984 the dictatorship rule of Big Brother in the totalitarianism society is shown to
brainwash the population, making them believe whatever the organisation wishes them and
bending them at their will. This is most prominent in Big Brothers slogan War is peace.
Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is knowledge. This quote is seen multiple times throughout the
novel and signifies the total power and control the organisation has among the people, forcing
them to believe the illogical and thus taking away their humanity. Orwell also uses the
protagonist Winston to convey the power of the omniscient state, and his vulnerability through
the unapprehended yet consistent surveillance. The repetition of big brothers watching you
reinforces the complete visibility and vulnerability of Winston, and links to the dominance of
the party through the typically elevated status of an older sibling. Ultimately, Orwell manifests
how the incapacity of an individual is reduced when they are unaware of the extent of
supremacy the parliamentarian dominion possess. Orwell also demonstrates that fear is the
most voluminous weakness in human nature. Through this we can see both Orwells shared
perspective on the detrimental impact of dictatorship rule and the intertextual connection to
political reform as he makes a statement against the dictatorship of Nazi Germany during World
War 2.

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Comparably, Lang also shows his shared perspective on the detrimental impact of dictatorship,
however he does this by the use of symbolism. Lang has showed how the total power of
dictatorship can be detrimental to humanity by the way in which the workers move in the
depths. In the scene Slaves of the Means of Production (14.58-17.52) the workers are shown
to be unidentifiable, through identical clothing & movements which is further asserted by the
long shot placing humans only second to the machines. This symbolises their loss of humanity
to the powerful dictatorship rule and also strips away their identity which reflects Langs
concern for the dehumanisation in his society. This also reveals Langs sense of anxiety &
disapproval of the old dictator monarchy of the Kaiser Weimar republic, when socialism was on
the rise & workers were demanding more rights. This idea forms a contextual connection to the
1920s Weimar Republic where there were two distinct classes, the conservative elite, who
were free to live at their will, and the workers who were forced to endure labour with no
guarantee for safety.

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Orwell and Lang shared perspectives of the rebelling of women and the intertextual
connections of the empowerment of women during the times these texts were created. This is
made evident through the use of juxtaposition throughout the two texts. In Orwells 1984 the
dystopic totalitarian society is suppressed into worshipping Big Brother and dares not to step
away from the control of the organisation. The female protagonist in the novel, Julia, however
is not as suppressed as she leads the organisation and begins to rebel against them. This is seen
within dialogue between her and Winston when she says Im corrupt to the bone. This
juxtaposition between her and the suppressed masses outlines her rebellion against the tyrant
power of the organisation. This links in with the contextual connection to the empowerment of
women during the post World War 2 period as a result of women refusing to give up the power
they had acquired during the war.
Correspondently, Lang also uses this shared perspective of the rebelling of women in his film,
depicted through the character of Maria. Maria is displayed as neither a citizen of Metropolis
nor a worker in the depths but as a source of optimism and rebellion for the suppressed
workers of the depths. Lang uses lighting to juxtapose her from the workers in the depths,
illuminating her whilst keeping them in shadowed tones. This juxtaposition emphasises the
rebellious mentality of Maria against the dictator of metropolis, Joh Frederson. Even though
Marias rebellious nature is far more peaceful than Julias, she still epitomises the contextual
connections of the empowerment of women as a result of refusing to give up the rights and
power they had acquired during World War 1. Through Orwells and Langs use of juxtaposition,
it is evident that they shared perspectives on the rebelling of women and the intertextual
connections of the empowerment of women as a result of refusing to give up the power they
had acquired during the World Wars.

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In conclusion, through the use of techniques such as symbolism and juxtaposition, both George
Orwell and Fritz Lang incorporate shared perspectives of the detrimental impact of dictatorship
rule and the rebelling of women as well as intertextual connections of political reform and the
empowerment of women.