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How Effective Is The Portrayal Of The Independent Self In "Citizen Kane".

990 words - 4 pages

The portrayal of the independent self, through the protagonist Charles Kane, in Citizen Kane is no doubt effective. It is a 'prismatic' movie concerning the life of a famous American seen from different points of view and shows a man who is inclined towards independence."Citizen Kane" is a film predominantly about a man whose past becomes manifested in his present and future. He is tragically torn from his parents as a child and this separation leads to his inability to love or be loved as an adult. He develops into an arrogant and egotistic character whose desire for love, power and success forces him to become independent and he dies a failure as a private man.The form of the film - a newsreel followed by the investigation into Kane's life through interviews with five people who knew him - makes a very effective portrayal of an independent man who is a failure as a private figure. The newsreel focuses on his public life and shows how he strove for independence and what he achieved. The interviews, on the other hand, focus on his private life and show the consequences of this independence on the inner man.Through the newsreel we learn how Kane sacrifices himself to power and success. "Greatest newspaper tycoon of this or any other generation." He becomes a successful public figure and a household name. The magnitude of his achievements is huge. But with all this success also comes the want as well as the need for him to be independent, to show that he can achieve anything he wants, without anyone else. Consequently, the success in his material life goes hand in hand with the failure in his spiritual and emotional lives.It is important to note that all through the film there is a strong sense that everything is occurring on sets, as indeed it was. This strong feeling of artificiality is quite appropriate and is symbolic of Kane's life, which like his possessions is ironically lifeless.The film, mainly through the interviews, portrays Kane as an independent man who is inevitably on his way to a spiritual doom. He emerges as a self-centered man who is driven solely by his ego, "he didn't believe in anything but Charlie Kane". He lives an arrogant life, tries to buy happiness and thinks that he has all that life has to offer. We see him as a person who doesn't really desire independence but is inclined towards it anyhow, due to his past experiences.His lack of dependence and inability to love do not allow him to maintain any close relationships. "Twice married. Twice divorced." His dealings, which we see via the interviews, with his wives and friend, clearly show his desire to show that he doesn't need anybody.His first marriage to Emily Norton ends in divorce because of his continually self-obsessive actions, "There is only one person...whose going to decide...and that's me." We are again struck by his egotism and arrogance when...

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