“Metropolis” and Scientific Advancement

Humans are creatures of habit; we don’t like change. This dislike can morph into fear, especially when it comes to technology. In his film Metropolis, Fritz Lang explores the marvels and horrors that could come from technological advances. While Lang illustrates class inequality and warfare, the film focuses mainly on scientific advancement as a double-edged sword.

Metropolis is the story of a futuristic city, in which the wealthy live extravagantly while the poor work all day to keep the city running. A woman named Maria tells of a mediator that will close this gap between rich and poor. Freder, the son of the ruler of the city, fills this role of mediator by bringing his father and Grot, the leader of the workers, together.

This film displays the good that can come from scientific advancement, but also the evil. For example, science can bring remarkable things, such as the city of Metropolis, but it can also bring horrible things, such as the Maria robot.  In this way, both Metropolis and Bertrand Russell’s “Icarus or The Future of Science” advise people to be cautious with science because what can come of technological advances is uncertain.

The contract between the actions of the robot Maria and the real Maria show why science is not to be trusted. The robot Maria leads the workers out of their underground city, leaving the machines and their children behind. The real Maria goes to the workers’ city and saves the children. This scene shows the audience that scientific advancements are not always better for humanity. Humans need to be cautious and aware of their actions when using technology because it can be dangerous.

Metropolis shows the uneasy and fear of the 1920s. Science was advancing and changing how people thought and perceived reality.  This film shows the meeting of humanity with its creations.

One thought on ““Metropolis” and Scientific Advancement

  1. This blog post is well written and the film is well analyzed. I especially enjoyed your connection to Russell’s work. During the scenes with the robot Maria, I also noticed a connection to “The Cabinet of Dr Caligari,” as both the robot and the somnambulist are the results of scientific advancements that are used to carry out their master’s evil-doings. The city itself can also be viewed as a downside of technology, as the leisurely lifestyles of the rich can only come as a result of the hard labor the workers must endure.

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