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The Passion of the Christ

The Passion of the Christ

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Published by Endy Mulio
My small project researching the ideology in this film.
My small project researching the ideology in this film.

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Published by: Endy Mulio on Jun 05, 2010
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The Analysis of the Ideology in the Film “The Passion of the Christ”

By: Endy Mulio 1115060002

ENGLISH LANGUAGE & CULTURE DEPARTMENT FACULTY OF SOCIAL SCIENCE & HUMANITIES BUNDA MULIA UNIVERSITY JAKARTA 2009 The Passion of the Christ

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I. Characters
*The following characters are the one who involve and are considered important in the flow of the story. *The director, Mel Gibson, pictures each character’s trait in this film similar with theirs in the Bible. *Background of the characters is taken from the Bible. It holds true to their background in the film. A. Protagonist 1. Jesus Christ Character Jesus is portrayed as wise and has leadership appearance to His disciples. He is also calm under pressure. Never pushes back for He know He is right. Also, Jesus has absolute faith to God. Background He is the central figure of Christian. He sacrificed Himself in crucifix in order to atone for the sins of man. Jesus was born in Bethlehem by holy Virgin Mary. Due to the shortage of accommodation, Mary chose the manger to give birth to Jesus.

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His mission in life was to spread God’s Word and give service to other. Ultimately, He sacrificed Himself to atone for our sins. Role The film revolves around Jesus’ life when He was near at His crucifixion. In the film, Jesus was accused for blasphemy by head priests. Then, he was brought to Pontius Pilate. The Roman then sentenced Him into crucifixion. While the crucifixion was not enough, Jesus must pass the whip trial first. After that, He was forced to bear His cross to the Golgotha. There, His hands were nailed, and He was crucified to His death. The last scene was the shot of Jesus resurrects from His tomb with both hands are hollow. 2. Peter Character Peter actually the loyal disciple of Jesus. However, at that time when he was asked, his fear dominated him that resulted to his denial of Jesus. Also, he is short-tempered as he cut off one ear of the man who wants to arrest Jesus.

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Background Peter was one of Jesus’ disciples. At time Jesus preannounced that he will be seized in the near time, He reminded His disciples to be wary because their faith will put into the test. Peter readily said that he will never turn his faith against Him. However, Jesus said that before the cock crows, he will deny Him three times. It was true as he denied Him three times before the cock crowed. Role In resemblance of the Bible, the film shot the scene of the night of Jesus’ arrest. Within that night, Peter was asked by the crowd whether he knew Jesus or not. He denied it, and the crowd still asked the same question to him. After denied three times, the cock crowed and he remembered of what Jesus had said before. Then he went outside and wept himself. Other scene of Peter was when he cut off the ear of the man who wanted to arrest Jesus in Gethsemane Garden.

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3. Virgin Mary Character Virgin Mary is the woman who was full of love to others, especially her child. She is also a very supportive mother. Background Mary was pre-told by Archangel Gabriel that she was chosen to bear the Son of God. Mary must name her child Jesus as He will save humans from their sins. Role In this film, she was the one of the supporters of Jesus when He walked His path bearing the cross to Golgotha. Mary helped Jesus to stand back after Jesus was stumbled due to the heavy burden of the cross. In the likely event, Mary flashbacked Jesus’ childhood as she was also the one who helped Him get up after He fell to ground.

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4. Mary Magdalene Character Mary Magdalene is a good-natured woman and is also full of love. Her character more or less resembles the character of Virgin Mary. Background There are several speculations revolve around this character. One of them is that there is no certain distinct line to say whether she was Mary Magdalene who followed Jesus, Mary of Bethany, or the sinful woman. Role In the film, Maria Magdalene was pictured as the woman who stood beside the cross’s foot and supported Jesus along His path bearing the cross. Actually, after Jesus’ death, she witnessed Jesus’ resurrection by chance when she brought myrrh to Jesus’ tomb and found that the stone slab protecting the tomb had been removed. However, the film had ended when Jesus rose from death with His hands were hollow.

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5. Simon of Cyrene Character He is a very good man and helpful to other’s suffering. He can just run instead of helping Jesus, but he chose to help Him somehow. Role Simon was the one who is forced by the soldier to help Jesus carrying the cross. He then helps Jesus throughout His path to Golgotha.

B. Antagonist 1. Satan Character Satan is known as the ‘father of evil”. His intentions are to rebel against God and makes human forget about his God. Every single act of him always leads to calamity and evil. Working behind the scene, he fills Caiaphas’ heart with envy and jealously, so that Caiaphas raises his hand against Jesus.

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Background Satan, or we should regard him as Lucifer, was once one of the archangels in Heaven. However, one day, he turned his back against God. God then drove out Lucifer from Heaven. Before he left Heaven, he also brought along many angels in Heaven to his side and became his minions. Role In the film, he disguised himself as a woman wearing black robe and bring a baby. He watched sinisterly among crowd when Jesus was whipped by the soldier. At the end of the film, he screamed for his defeat as Jesus resurrected from His death; thus, atoned for humans’ sins. 2. Caiaphas Character He is an evil man in nature. Plainly, his heart is filled with envy by Jesus approach. Then, being fueled by anger, he decides to accuse Jesus for false evidence.

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Background Caiaphas was the head or chief priest of Jew. He, along with other priests, were responsible to the arrest of Jesus. They obviously tried to make any guilt in Jesus and in the end falsely accused Him for blasphemy. Role In the film, as is in the Bible, he and the other priests desperately wanted to find any guilts in Jesus in order to frame Jesus and brought Him to the court. Having found no evidence in Jesus, Caiaphas still insists to bring him to Pontius Pilate to sentence Jesus. 3. Pontius Pilate Character Pilate is an indecisive character. At one time he wanted to set free Jesus, but when the crowd starts to be chaotic, he gave away the case. However, at the last moment, he still believed that Jesus was not guilty and offered the crowd the choice of freeing Jesus or the criminal named Barabas. Although the crowd still pointed out to set free Barabas.

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Background Pontius Pilate was a Roman governor. Jesus was brought to him because the Jewish authorities were not authorized to execute people. Role Pontius Pilate appeared in the film when Jesus was brought to him to prove Jesus’ guilt. Being confused to this matter, he sent Jesus to Herod. However, Herod could not find any guilt either in Jesus and sendt back Jesus to him. In the court, Pilate tried to ask Jesus for His apology, because Pilate had the authority to free person, but Jesus refused to take His step back. Therefore, Pilate decided that Jesus was guilty of a capital crime and suggested that it would be sufficient to whip him. However, the publics declined the verdict and insisted to kill Jesus. Even though Pilate tried to convince them not to take blood from innocent Man, the crowd dids not want to listen to it and still go to their intention to kill Jesus. Pilate panicked by the uproar of the crowd and did not want to take any risk to start the rebellion, so he punished Jesus instead by sentencing Him to crucifixion.

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4. Herod Antipas Character From the way he spoke, we can judge that the character always looked down to others as he laughed at Jesus for His silence throughout Herod’s interrogation. Background Herod Antipas was the ruler of Galilee and Perea. He led to the executions of John the Baptist and Jesus, both from the accounts of these events in the Bible New Testament. Role Herod was the man who is referred by Pilate about how to persecute Jesus. However, upon the interrogation, Jesus remained silent and Herod then sent back Jesus to Pilate for not found any guilt in Him.

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C. Protagonist Turns to Antagonist 1. Judas Character Judas is a pain in the neck for Jesus and other apostles. Instead of protecting Jesus, he blindly seized his own Teacher to the enemy. He had no gratification for Jesus and evil mind that permitted everything for his own sake. Nowadays, Christians picture him as a symbol of betrayal. Background Judas was one of Jesus’ Disciples, but in the end, he was blinded by the gold which was bribed to him by head priest. He agreed to betray Jesus and made plan to seize Jesus at Gethsemane Garden. Role At the Gethsemane Garden, while Jesus prayed and spoke to His disciples, Judas came. Along with him was a group of people with swords and clubs. Then, he walked toward Jesus and kissed Jesus as a signal to identify Him to be arrested. After the arrest of Jesus, Judas heavily felt guilty that he returned back the bribe to head priest, then hanged himself to death.
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II. Plot Summary Intro The film’s plot is started at Gethsemane Garden. Based on Bible, Jesus prayed there after the Last Supper. Meanwhile, Judas has made the plan to seize Him there. While Jesus speaks to His disciples, Judas comes with people bringing swords and clubs. Then He is arrested by them and is brought to Jerusalem. Escalation In Jerusalem, the head priests of Pharisees falsely accused Him for blasphemy. Jesus remained silent throughout the interrogation and made no attempts to defend Himself. At last, they could not hold their anger and wanted to take their action upon Him. However, they did not have any authorities to punish people, so they bring Jesus to Roman Empire in order to transfer the case. There, Pilate listened to the Pharisees about their accusation to Jesus. Being confused and realized that his decision will make him to be involved in political conflict, Pilate decided to send Jesus to higher authority, King Herod. However, King Herod himself could not find Jesus’ guilt and sent back Jesus to Pontius Pilate to take the matter on himself.

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Then, Jesus was interrogated thoroughly by Pontius Pilate. On the other hand, Jesus remained silent when He was asked and offered the freedom by Pontius Pilate. “I have the authority to punish and set free people,” said Pilate. However, Jesus replied that Pilate do not have it, God Himself that gives Him that authority. Pilate had tried to persuade the crowd not to kill Jesus, and offered a whip punishment to Jesus. The crowd disagreed and started to make chaos. Having found no way to save Jesus, and in the same time, he wanted to lessen the chaos caused by the crowd; he chose to first gave Jesus whip punishment. Pilate still made an attempt to save Jesus by giving the crowd choice of whom they will set free. The choice was between Jesus and the criminal named Barabas. The Pharesees provoked the crowd to choose Barabas instead of Jesus. Climax Thus, after He was sentenced, Jesus brutally tortured by whip until the blood spilt all over the arena. As if normal whip was not enough, the soldier used the spiked whip to torture Jesus more. When it was over, the soldiers wore Him purple robe and crowned Him with the crown-of-thorns.

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After all the punishment, Jesus was once again brought to Pilate. Pilate tried to persuade the crowd that Jesus had been punished enough, yet the crowd still wanted to kill Jesus. Thus, Pilate washed his hands as a symbol that he would not be involved in Jesus’ punishment. All decisions on Jesus were responsible to the crowd. With weakened body, Jesus must bear the cross through Jerusalem, all the way up to Golgotha. One of the people in crowd, Simon of Cyrene was ordered to help Jesus to bear His cross. Anti-climax At Golgotha, there was more physical torture for Jesus as both His hands are nailed to the cross. On the cross, there were 2 criminals on left and right side of Him. One criminal insulted Jesus while the other repented himself. To the one who repented himself, Jesus assured that he would go to heaven with Him. The other criminal met tragic fate as his eye was pecked by a crow. On the cross, Jesus felt thirsty. One of the people came with sponge. He then sopped the sponge into sour wine, then inserted into the stick to let Jesus drank. Jesus then died on His cross. One of the soldiers pierced His stomach with spear to make sure about His death.

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Soon after His death, earthquake struck and the sky ripped off. Everyone was scared and began to believe that Jesus is truly Son of God. Denouement Jesus was soon buried. However, on the third date, Jesus defeated death and rose from His tomb. In the end, Lucifer screamed in agony for he had been defeated by Jesus’ resurrection. Whipped and weakened, Jesus was presented with the cross and was ordered to carry it through the streets of Jerusalem, all the way up to Golgotha. There, more corporal cruelty took place as Jesus was nailed to the cross--suffering, he hanged there, left to die. Initially, in his dazed suffering, Jesus was alarmed that he had been abandoned by God his father. He then beseeched God. At the moment of his death, nature itself over-turns.

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III. Ideology
A. The Film "This is a movie about love, hope, faith, and forgiveness. He [Jesus] died for all mankind, suffered for all of us. It's time to get back to that basic message. The world has gone nuts. We could all use a little more love, faith, hope, and forgiveness." – Mel Gibson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Passion_of_the_Christ)

W
the storyline.

ithout any doubt, this film focuses on the meaning of Jesus’ sacrifice to atone for humans’ sins. It gives the theme of love, faith, hope, and forgiveness. However,

there are also some implicit ideologies that are inserted throughout

One of the ideologies of this film is sadism. It may not his first intention when he makes this film beforehand. However, Gibson wants the viewers to feel the pain undertook by Jesus in His crucifixion. In order to emphasize that, Gibson explicitly depicts Jesus’ agony in His crucifixion, and sheds Jesus’ blood in most part of the film. The most striking one is when Jesus is whipped by the soldier. Even His flesh was torn over by the spike of the rod. The other ideology is martyrdom. The ideology that shows one must be tortured in order to keep his faith. The film emphasizes Jesus’ affliction in the crucifixion because of His faith to His Father. The
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disciples of Jesus, except Judas, also shows sign their sign of martyrdom towards Jesus. Moreover, this film more or less provokes public by an anti-Semitic (anti-Jew) debate. Whether this film despises the Jew or not is the hot debate by the release of this film. While Mel Gibson tries to alter any scenes that considered an anti-Semitic, some critical viewers always points out that this film is an anti-Semitic film. One point is the extreme blood shed in the scene when Jesus is whipped. Plus, there are some Jews who involve in the Jesus’ crucifixion. However, the anti-Semitic issue is eliminated by some facts, there are: 1. Pilate’s wife, is Jewish characters who does the most to try to ease the sufferings of Jesus, 2. Simon of Cyrene, the man who helps Jesus, is also a Jew, 3. it is Roman soldiers who tortured Jesus, 4. the involvement of the Jewish Pharisees in the plot to have Jesus killed is a biblical fact. It is not made up by Gibson, and 5. the film itself teaches about love and forgiveness, so it is impossible if it also fuels the anti-Semitic issue. Finally, this film is pro-Christian and pro-Catholic. The film shows us the suffering of Jesus when He sacrificed Himself to atone for our
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sins. Jesus’ sacrifice in the crucifix had atoned for humans’ sins; and it becomes the basis for the Christian doctrine. B. The Characters 1. Jesus Jesus’ ideology is to show love to others and spread the Word of Truth. His faith to His Father is absolute for He is willing to be tortured on the crucifix. 2. Twelve apostles (except Judas) Based on Biblical facts, their main ideology is to love others and spread the Word of God. Also, they (12 apostles) continuously followed Jesus wherever He spread His teachings. Their faith to Jesus is unquestionable, although Judas betrayed Him in the end. In the film, their ideology is their faith to Jesus and the togetherness that was shared between them. However, Judas had distinct ideology apart from them, Judas only cared for himself; and it was proven by his betrayal on Jesus.

2. Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene

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Both of them resemble to love. When Jesus suffers, both of them always readily helped Him to relieve and supported Jesus. They also had faith in Jesus, especially Virgin Mary who is His mother. 3. Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas Based on their authority, they have the same ideology to put public’s interest over individual interest. Therefore, Pontius Plate decided to sentence Jesus because the crowd insisted to kill Jesus. Furthermore, they tended to ignore whether the person is guilty or not. The matter is whether it has effect or not to himself. As a result, they (especially Pontius Pilate) blindly followed on what public thinks. 4. Caiaphas Caiaphas’ ideology is hatred; and he wanted to eliminate all opponents in his path. Being envied to Jesus, he then falsely accusesd Him to blasphemy. 5. Satan / Lucifer Similar on Biblical facts, he is evil. His only ideology is to rebel God and mislead humans from God’s Word.

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