Dr. Strangelove , filmmaker Stanley Kubrick’s nuclear war satire, portrays America’s leaders as fumbling idiots and forces American viewers to question the ability of their government.
Dr. Strangelove’s cast explores the quirks and dysfunctional personality traits that a layperson would find far-fetched in a person of power. The characters are diverse yet unified in their unfailing stupidity and naivete. The film’s hysterical dialogue sheds a darkly comic light at the most ironic of times-war. This film came out at a height of paranoia of the nuclear age and the Cold War, just after the Cuban Missile Crisis. It depicts a horrible, tragic incident in which a breach in the government and diplomatic mistakes result in nuclear holocaust.
General Ripper, a psychotic anti-Communist, exploits a loophole in the chain of command and orders nuclear warheads to be dropped on Russia. Ripper, in a moment of humor, explains his motivation-most likely gleaned from bits of “red” propaganda he has internalized: “I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.” He elaborates further citing the Communist fluoridation of U.S. drinking water as the most dangerous of Soviet plots to infiltrate and destroy the American people. With all the sense of a Joe McCarthy, Ripper is prepared to begin and accept the consequences of a nuclear war.
The impending disaster is soon brought to the attention of America’s President Muffle and his team of able advisers, who quickly prove themselves worthless wastes of space. The President scr…
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…ar. By presenting war with humor, the film conveys just how much of a farce the nuclear arms race really was. The extreme views of the characters aren’t fiction; Baby Boomers, for example, can recall debates about “acceptable” civilian losses in the event of a bomb being dropped. Kubrick satirizes this time period wonderfully, capturing the insanity of a world gone mad. The key question of the film really is: who is running the mad house? In a world where world leaders scramble and bicker childishly and take advice from Nazi Germans, a world where bombs can be dropped at the will of a psychotic general, one seems better off to recline and laugh at the pure insanity of it all.
Dr Strangelove or : How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Dir. Stanley Kubrick. Perf. Peter Sellers and George C. Scott. London: Columbia Pictures, 1964.
The Id, Ego and Superego in Lord of the Flies
The Id, Ego and Superego in Lord of the Flies
In viewing the various aspects of the island society in Golding’s Lord of the Flies as a symbolic microcosm of society, a converse perspective must also be considered. Golding’s island of marooned youngsters then becomes a macrocosm, wherein the island represents the individual human and the various characters and symbols the elements of the human psyche. As such, Golding’s world of children’s morals and actions then becomes a survey of the human condition, both individually and collectively.
Almost textbook in their portrayal, the primary characters of Jack, Ralph and Piggy are then best interpreted as Freud’s very concepts of id, ego and superego, respectively. As the id of the island, Jack’s actions are the most blatantly driven by animalistic rapacious gratification needs. In discovering the thrill of the hunt, his pleasure drive is emphasized, purported by Freud to be the basic human need to be gratified. In much the same way, Golding’s portrayal of a hunt as a rape, with the boys ravenously jumping atop the pig and brutalizing it, alludes to Freud’s basis of the pleasure drive in the libido, the term serving a double Lntendre in its psychodynamic and physically sensual sense. Jack’s unwillingness to acknowledge the conch as the source of centrality on the island and Ralph as the seat of power is consistent with the portrayal of his particular self-importance. Freud also linked the id to what he called the destructive drive, the aggressiveness of self-ruin. Jack’s antithetical lack of compassion for nature, for others, and ultimately for himself is thoroughly evidenced in his needless hunting, his role in the brutal murders of Simon and Piggy, and finally in his burning of the entire island, even at the cost of his own life.
In much the same way, Piggy’s demeanor and very character links him to the superego, the conscience factor in Freud’s model of the psyche. Golding marks Piggy with the distinction of being more intellectually mature than the others, branding him with a connection to a higher authority: the outside world. It is because the superego is dependent on outside support that Piggy fares the worst out of the three major characters in the isolation of the island. Piggy is described as being more socially compatible with adults, and carries himself with a sense of rationale and purpose that often serves as Ralph’s moral compass in crisis; although Ralph initially uses the conch to call the others, it is Piggy who possesses the knowledge to blow it as a signal despite his inability to do so.