Metropolis and Rotwang

The most interesting symbolism in Metropolis was Rotwang, the creation of Mecha-Maria, and science! Keeping with the German expressionist theme, he seemed vaguely reminiscent of Faust, of German legend. He sacrifices himself, though in Metropolis, it is his hand, for science, and has pentagrams all over his house, which is incongruous in it’s dilapidated exterior and futuristic interior; a place out of time. He also builds his Man-Machine (which is definitely a woman) which echoes Mephistopheles, the demon servant sent to Faust in the original German legend. Mecha-Maria wreaks chaos and brings about the end of Rotwang, parallel to Faust and his demon. The final nail in the coffin? Faust means “fist” in German. What does Rotwang give up in his quest for the Man-Machine? His hand. Germans aren’t known for their subtlety. The scene framing also fits the Van de Graaff generator in the middle of the pentagram, as well as the Machine-Man. The entire scene is framed and intended to be an affront in the face of God, as Metropolis so subtly hinted that Mecha-Maria was the Whore Of Babylon.

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