The first half of the twentieth century brought about rapid technological advancement in such a short time period. With these emerging technologies brought the increasing reliance of the machine. The dyspeptic futures of Frizz Land’s Metropolis and George Rowel’s Nineteen Eighty Four foreshadows the impeding totalitarianism of a sentient machine. The dehumidifying effect created by the machine widens the gap of the social hierarchies, increasing disparities between the working class and the upper class.
Both Orwell and nag concern themselves with the all-consuming fear that a creation of humanity will be the downfall of mankind. Society’s reliance on the machine has created a universal demonstration. The machines survival has become the ultimate goal of society and the need to preserve its health has created a subservient population. Metropolis’ opening scene immediately establishes the machine and its far reaching influence on the entire populace. The towering sky scrapers and multiple overpasses draw heavy inspiration from Land’s vision of New York, a nucleus for mindless capitalist greed.
The multiple shots of the moving gears are contrasting against the following scene of the workers shift change, suggesting that the workers possess as many unman qualities as the machine itself. They are completely expendable and synonymous in every way. The recent invention of the assembly line by Henry Ford allowed for a streamline process with each person only having one certain skill. Lang draws heavily on this idea that the workers are no more useful than a simple cog in a machine and can be as easily replaced.
The metaphysical machine of Nineteen Eighty Four chooses to control its population through the use of psychological and behavioral modification maneuvers. This manifests itself in the language of Newsweek, which the party has chosen to replace English. The party is constantly refining the language with the ultimate goal that no one will be capable of original thought or conceptualizing anything that might question the party absolute power. The Ministry of Truth an example of irony in the novel, alters history, “the past was erased, the erasure forgotten, the lie became truth”.
Bringing life to the phrase, ‘ Won controls the past, controls the future and who controls the present, controls the past”. This brings to light the warning Orwell gives, that reality control is possible by eradicating humanism to ensure the machine’s survival. In relation to the abolition of words it is clear Orwell is parodying Hitter’s book burning of 1993. Hitler, much like Big Brother, promoted a totalitarian government throughout World War Two and the book burning was used to eradicate books deemed unworthy to control the intellect of Nazi followers.
The use of surveillance of the subjugated groups within society is employed to instill a sense of powerlessness in society. In Metropolis the workers are constantly observed though multiple camera feeds, leading to the watchful eyes Of Jog Foreperson. Lands Metropolis was conceived before the invention of the television screen, eating to the use of the Thin Man, representing the primitive and labor intensive method of surveillance that lacked the impersonal touch of Rowel’s telecasters.
This more primitive spying is reminiscent of the time period, before the modern creation of the spy and where the truth was more common than lies. The constant surveillance strips them of any free though, lest they get caught, striping the move any intellectual power or autonomy. In the oppressive society of Oceania, Winston continually finds himself at odd with those around him, due to his lack of privacy with the government’s righting level of imposed censorship. Rowel’s use of the telescopes motif, inspired by the commercial release of the television are a physical intrusion into Winston life.
Thus the telescopes reinvents the act of spying, a result from the leap in technological advancement from World War Two and the various inventions used in espionage to thwart the enemy. As well as the Parsons children who denounce their own father after hearing him mutter “down with Big Brother”, this illustrates that everyone is watching including the ultimate power of the machine. Ultimately, Winston powerlessness alienates him not from the world but himself and his own past. The creation Of a social hierarchy by the machine in Metropolis allows for a rebellious atmosphere to engulf the city.
The robot Maria, spurs a revolution amongst the working and upper class population, enforcing the deeply embedded machinations of the machine in all tiers of society. The sole benefactor from to this technology shish Foreperson. Lang styles his office opulently with Art Deco pieces, reminiscent of the period of German Expressionism in the asses and ass, a time of great architectural and artistic advancement. Lang believes hat these technological leaps have created the widening of inequality and that the correct utilization of this technology is the only solution.
This is represented in the long shot of the rebel workers in the elevators. This symbolisms their physical ascent from oppression with assistance from the same technology. The film serves as a message to diminish the gap between the upper class and the workers, who have become slaves to the machine. Nineteen Eighty Four presents an encompassing figurative machine which entices Winston to rebel. However Winston is thwarted by the party, leading o his “death”. This coincides with Rowel’s fear of the fate of totalitarianism in Communist Russia.
Through the employment of the satirical technique, the anti-climax, Orwell shatters the audiences hope, suggesting a society where there is a single dominant power, even the most determined citizens succumb to the deceit the party delivers. Winston yearning for rebellion is symbolized by his ulcer, when Winston is able to relinquish the wrath of the political machine, it subsides, but worsens when he is arrested.