Multifaceted Psyches Of Metropolis Essay

1723 words - 7 pages

Home to a futuristic society, Metropolis (1927) by Fritz Lang, presents a city in which society has been physically divided to achieve perfection. According to Norden “With its motifs and its portrayal of workers as machinelike automatons (they even move about mechanically), 'Metropolis' unmistakably bears the mark of Futurism” (Norden 109). This society is divided into two classes: the thinkers who are the wealthy rulers of the city, and the workers, who work literally underground to provide for the city. Living in opulence, the audience is introduced to the ruler of the city Johann 'Joh' Fredersen (Alfred Abel) and his son Freder Frederson (Gustav Fröhlich). One day while indulging in his ...view middle of the document...

The futuristic elements in this functioning dysfunctional society has captivated yet terrified the audiences. The accurate representation of the future has mesmerized those who firmly believed on the social stability of society. More importantly, the story of Metropolis is still delighting audiences with the complexity of its plot line and its characters. This portrayal of human nature ties with the theory developed by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud on the structurally mode of the psyches. Freud states that the human mind has three functions: the id, the ego and the superego. The id driven is simply driven by subconscious desires of preservation, the ego is driven by reason and organization, and the superego attempts to internalize cultural values. The film portrays the human being as a multifaceted creature, guided by egocentrism, driven by perfection, but above all, motivated by subconscious and conscious thoughts deep within the psyches. Metropolis asserts that excessive technology detaches the subconscious mind from the conscious mind, and prohibits these parts of the psyches from working as a unified entity. The film utilizes the motif of technology to contrast the mechanical (the id) with the pure (the ego). Fritz Lang’s Metropolis asserts that when the psyches of a society is divided, the rulers (id) acting on egocentrism, and the workers (ego) simply following the orders of their oppressive rulers, stability is nearly impossible.
Throughout the film, Fritz Lang utilizes several characters, such as a Maria, Fredersen and Rotwang to demonstrate not only the different levels of the psyches but also to demonstrate how the different parts of the human mind, the id, the ego and the superego, can only work in conjunction with one another.
A character that demonstrates the clash between the different levels of the psyches influenced by excessive amount of technology is Maria. In minute 73:19 Robot Maria is depicted in an erotic dance sequence. The dance scene is introduced by a close-up of Freder opening a letter from Rotwang inviting him to the show of a new erotic dancer. The scene dissolves away and then the camera focuses on a ballroom full of men. The scene changes to a medium close-up of Frederson and Rotwang pointing out at someone. The shot quickly changes focus from the man talking to a women slowly emerging from a casket. As the women rises from the casket, there is a long shot of the men trying to reach Robot Maria. The film then cuts to a reaction shot of the men in the room becoming quickly exalted by the sight of the beautiful women. Then, there is a cross-shot of two reaction shots: a shot of the men’s orgasmic facial expressions, and a shot of a delusional Freder in bed. The scene concludes in minute 76:06 with the words “For her: All seven deadly sins” when the man of the ballroom and Freder realize that for Maria they would do anything. This scene not only depicts the power Robot Maria has over the masses, it also contrasts...

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