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Amon Goeth in Schindler's list and pardoning the devil.

I finally watched it. I was attached to the movie the full three hours, was deeply disturbed by the imagery of the real events that was happening touched by the show of humanity and ended the movie with tears. Great movie... Yes! (Though, it wasn't a great movie, no. I want to write about that too, on a different post).

While there were many scenes that are brilliant in many ways, one act puzzled me very much and I think was just pure genius. That is the scene where Amon Goeth kills the boy who was cleaning his bathroom bowl. Here's the last part of it...

In the outset the scene portrays the devilish commander killing an innocent boy who think he was pardoned. But I think the scene goes far beyond that. It shows how Amon exercises his new found interpretation of power, power to pardon, in its ultimate sense by pardoning himself. Showing that he finally truly understand the meaning of power, the ultimate power yielded only by God, to pardon a person as villainous as he is.

The scene also shows his struggle to retain his identity, by not killing the boy, who should have used a different cleaning agent, he is detaching himself from who he is. The ultimate result is him settling on killing the boy expecting to be forgiven by the ultimate authority, God. The most powerful idea here is that he no longer is the pure villain with no regard for Jewish life, but a Nazi soldier struggling with the idea that he is a ruthless killer and wanting to change, but without loosing who he is along the way..!

I think this is a very powerful portrayal of ethics vs identity.

Comments

  1. For future reference, I think Schindler's turning point comes when the armless worker comes to thank him. He was able to retain his identity as an opportunistic business person through the inhumane reality only since he was able to externalize his subconscious humanity to Stern, the plant manager. He was able to be the bad guy only because he knew Stern was the opposite of him. This is precisely the reason he breaks down when the worker says "You are a good man". At this point his identity breaks down, he realize that he no longer is the cold blooded businessman he thought he was, and is the tipping point towards his transition to Merge with the identity of Stern. I also think the completion of this transition is realized when Stern himself finally takes a drink with Oscar.

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