Comparing Casablanca To 1984 Essay, Research Paper
How can a hero survive in a world gone mad? Both Casablanca,
the classic 1940s film, and hailed as the greatest movie ever by some,
and 1984, a piece of classic literature by George Orwell, also seen as
being one of the most important novels of the 20th century, revolve
around a world in chaos, where no one trusts anybody else, and a war
wages on within and without. In 1984, Winston hides from a
totalitarian, thought controlling government, that is out to stomp out
all aggression against the Party. Rick dealt with a world rocked by
the impacts of World War II, where everyone was a spy, and even the
spies were spied on. Both wish for hope and courage in their mutually
exclusive worlds, yet only Rick finds hope in his. Winston dies with
utter hopelessness, where no one will ever know of his life or deeds,
yet he dies a hero. Rick is a cynic, tossed into a chaotic yet
romantic world, and comes forth victorious.
In Casablanca, we emerge with a feeling of hope, and joy, that
the forces of good can win, and that eventually we will triumph over
our enemies, wherever or whatever they may be. While slochky and
romantic, Casablanca is a touching movie, and probably one of the best
ever made. 1984 on the other hand, is a deep psychological thriller.
In the world of utter thought-control, we find that even a strong
hero such as Winston, is struck down by the party, for simply being
alive, and that the virtuosity within humanity will eventually be
overcome by our greed and lust. Their struggles are that of man
against the oppressor. Both 1984 and Casablanca deal with a world
gone mad, and the struggles of not-so-ordinary people.
Oftentimes, parallels can be made between characters in the two.
Renault can be compared with O’Brien, because both are ‘double agents’
in their own ways, and one never knows for which side they work for.
Of course, in the end O’Brien is an agent of the Party, and Renault is
a sympathetic Frenchman, who befriends Rick – Louis, this is the
beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Sam of course, is stability. He can’t be bought or sold, and
is seemingly a constant, always there and never too deep into the
problems of the world. Sam represents the carefree aspect in all of
us, the feeling that we’d just as soon turn our attention away from
the war and hum a tune. Parsons could be the Sam of 1984, the escape
from reality. Winston wishes he could simply give in as Parsons did,
to just pledge his allegiance to the Party, and live out his days in
relative happiness (Parsons is even glad when he was turned in by his
While vastly different, many similarities can be made between
these two classics. Both take place in a world gone mad, where
nothing is truth, and reality is always questionable. In 1984, we see
that truth is temporary, and in Casablanca, people are not always who
they seem. Rick and Winston both face the ultimate human enemy: the
unimportance of the individual. Rick exemplifies this theme, as he
relates to Ilsa: “The problems of two little people don’t amount to a
hill of beans in this crazy world.” Simply put, individuals don’t
matter. That the events surrounding their world and time overpower
those of the individual. In the world of 1984, we see the total
eradication of the individual, and the loss of all personal rights.
Winston and his comrades are part of the one, the Party, and any
strives in another direction were punished with Room 101.
Casablanca deals with a festive arena in the midst of war,
Rick’s Caf Americain, and 1984 deals with the opposite, a dismal view
of a war torn London. Yet both of them are set in places that are
different than the surrounding world. Winston hides in his corner
away from the telescreen, where he feels he can think and write, yet
he realizes that as he sits there, he was the dead. Outside Rick’s a
war wages on, but inside the kindly caf , an atmosphere of warmth and
freedom emanates. Yet it is soon crushed by the iron fist of the
Germans attempting to capture the rogue Lazlow, as Winston’s alcove by
the Party. Both Winston and Rick’s worlds are torn apart by forces
beyond their control, but Rick is victorious in the end, and Winston
loses the battle.
In summary, both 1984 and Casablanca revolve around the idea
that humanity is losing its personal identity to that of the masses.
The individual, in both cases, is far less important to that of the
rest of the world. Hero’s can exist in a world gone mad, as we find
in both 1984 and Casablanca. Lazlow is a hero of the rebellion, who
stood out against the oppression of the German government, and escaped
to Lisbon. Winston spat in the face of the Party, and stirred within
himself, human emotions and committed the gravest crime: he was alive.
Both acted in the face of defeat, and won their own victories. There
are many similarities between the characters and events of 1984 and
Casablanca. The line that sums it all up, was spoken by Rick. “That
day in Paris, the Germans wore gray, and we wore blue.” They dared to
be different, and to be human, in a world gone utterly mad with its