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Composers are often compelled to create texts that reflect one’s time and social values.

In this
way, Fritz Lang’s expressionist film, ​‘Metropolis’​ (1927), is a response to the challenges of the
Weimar Republic of Germany under the stresses following the first world war. Lang critiques the
social inequality that emerged from the exploitive behaviours and subsequent disunity between
the working and upper classes as a result of the abuse of power. Similarly, George Orwell’s
dystopian novel ‘​Nineteen Eighty Four’​ (1949) reflects the political regimes of World War II and
predicts the confronting future of autocracy where complete government control disregards
moral and ethical boundaries. Both composers explore the dangers of exploitation by those in
power found across juxtaposing contexts. Through this, audiences gain a broader
understanding of the values of individuality, conformity and freedom endured as an outcome of
contextual experiences.

Fritz Lang’s ‘​Metropolis’​ was produced with thoughts to expose social commentary on the rising
movement of capitalism, simultaneously reflecting the inequalities that occurred during the era
of the Weimar Republic of Germany. Lang explores the irony of a utopian city as a cautionary
tale through the stratification of a society led by the elite, as a representation of the Weimar
Republic’s pursuit to a renewed society following the great depression. As presented through
the ​opening sequence​, the rhythmic movements of the uniformed workers with accompaniment
to a ​sombre​ ​score​,​ displays the absence of freedom in which the working class is restricted to.
This scene ​juxtaposed​ with the montage of machinery reinforces how the machine-like workers
reflect the hardships and oppressions of post World War I, therefore foreboding a sense of
change within Germany as the rise of fascism plagues Europe. The suppression of the workers
contradicts the extravagance of the privileged where the ​panning shot ​of nature in the Eternal
Gardens illustrate the freedoms of recreational luxuries that only the bourgeoisie can afford.
Lang further criticises the political and social chaos in his society through a series of ​high angle
shots​ of the workers to emphasise their dehumanisation, hence dramatizing the stratification
evident between the working class and autocrats of Weimar Germany. This evidently highlights
the consequences that can arise from the abuse of power. Thus, Lang presents audiences with
the shocking contrast of social class to reveal the shortcomings of the corruptions of power that
parallels Metropolis to the realities of post World War I Germany.

Despite contextual differences, Orwell highlights the tyrannous nature of a totalitarian society
and criticises the extremities of authoritative power within the dystopian novel ‘​Nineteen
Eighty-Four​’. Influenced by political regimes of Stalinism and Nazism that developed across
Europe in the late 30s, Orwell presents ​‘Big Brother’​ as a suppressive ruler of the Oceanic
state as emphasized through the ​motifs​ of “​Big Brother is watching you​”. As an approach to
remain in absolute power, the government exploits the people by promoting the ‘​two minutes
of hate​’ against Emmanuel Goldstein. It is through this perpetual use of propaganda and
telescreens where the ​recurring​ ​motif​ of ​‘electronic eyes’ ​promotes the transparency of society
where all privacy is exposed to the almighty government, thus undermining the nightmares of an
autocratic dictatorship.​ ​Orwell epitomizes his concerns on the ramifications of the totalitarian
regimes of his era by expressing the ​paradox​ ​“Who controls the past controls the future.
Who controls the present controls the past”. ​This ultimately exemplifies how the social

On the other hand. echoing the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising during World War II. Moreover. to exemplify the repercussions of a fascist and totalitarian approach of control. where the ​diabolical imagery​ in ‘tear her face off. ​signifying Orwell’s observations of the totalitarian societies of his time. Furthermore. He reinforces the need for individuals to take a united stance against an overarching government control in order to obtain freedom and escape social conventions. becoming a ‘​blow against the party’.laughing’ ​encapsulates his ability to demonstrate an attachment to his past where Orwell highlights the power individualism. The ​close up shots​ of robot Maria’s hypnotised audience as she dances provocatively illustrates the loss of morality and innocence ​where the abuse technology is used to control society. Orwell forebodes the future of humanity and warns of the dangers of an oppressive society. Winston’s ​flashbacks​ of ‘​his mother sitting opposite him. Lang ultimate draws the conclusion that reconciliation between the elite and working class is possible. ​This mirrors the Weimar Republic where the disparity between the political parties of the nation manifests in the division of society. Lang portrays the advancement of technology as an instrument of control to emphasise the loss of ethics and morality when one is blinded by the thirst for power. He explores the ways technology is used to manipulate the individual through the characterisation of robot Maria as a seductive figure. losing the sense of hope. Orwell opposes social unification by seeking absolute subjugation of the individual. Both Lang and Orwell presents societies that suffer from the hardships due to the lack of freedom as a result of man’s desire for power. as seen in the ​recurrent motif​ of “the mediator between the heads and the hands must be the heart”. However Orwell contradicts the notion of individuality when Winston is tortured.​ Therefore Lang encourages the need for altruistic motives when taking political action for the betterment of the individual and society. ​This reflects the contextual fears of the increasing passivity of humanity as technology and industrialization began to foreground the development of society in the Weimar Republic. He portrays the inner party’s ambition for power and control through the ​irony “​freedom is slavery”.constructs built by the government allow for the absolute control and oppression of its people. This disparity follows Stalin’s Terrors where all sense of hope was eradicated through the tortures of those who rebelled. and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious’​ concluding that knowledge is necessary .. Thus Orwell analyses the extent of power which the government holds. Orwell argues the ​paradox​ that ​‘until they become conscious they will never rebel. Lang demonstrates inequality and disunity within society as a consequence of the abuse of power. strip her to the bones’ ​reveals the restrictions of humanity and their susceptibility to submit to fears. This is seen through the connection between Winston and Julia as they defy their love for Big Brother and commit to one another. unlike Lang. Social stratification in Metropolis is underlined by the ​allegory​ of ​‘the hands that built the Tower of Babel know nothing of the dream which the head that conceived has been fantasizing’. Moreover.. Thus.​ This rebellion is a ​symbol​ of freedom for the couple and the start of a revolutionary movement to overcome the suppression of the party. imploring the importance of unity between the intellectuals and the inferior through social unification. However. by diminishing the hopes of overcoming an autocratic government.

Thus under the influences of contextual forms. both Lang and Orwell allow audiences to gain a deeper knowledge on the concerns of the abuse of power and the forms of inequality that reflect their unique context.for revolution to occur but one must recognize the symptoms of an abusive government to be able to abolish its oppressive ideologies. Through the comparison of these texts. Where Lang encourages responders to realise the detrimental aspects of a highly divided society. ‘​Metropolis’​ and ‘​Nineteen-Eighty Four​’ convey similar ideologies where individuals can achieve a greater understanding on the roles of the individual to break free from government oppression and value their freedom. Orwell contrastingly exemplifies that any political ideology taken to the extreme will be the fundamental root for a chaotic and oppressive society. .